Friday, October 03, 2014

Still Livin' Lacey Designing!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"One likes to believe that there is memory in the fingers; memory undeveloped, but still alive.” -- Elizabeth Zimmermann

Yes, EZ always hit the truth. Back in 1983, right before I got that Assistant Knitting & Crochet Editor job at McCall's Needlework & Crafts, I wrote a letter to EZ on the Schoolhouse Press address, asking her how could I become a knitting designer. A week later, Meg Swanson phoned me and she told me how to learn to design. 


My Knitting History II

Beginning in 1983, I started to collect knitting books. Got a pile of them at McCall's that I used for editing and was allowed to keep them. And the primary book for learning how to design was this one.
The initial copyright is 1940 and my book's copyright is 1964. Yes, I have a huge library of knitting, spinning, weaving, crewel embroidery, quilting books. 

Mom thought it was funny that I was able to do the knitting designing mathematics because when I was in high school, had to go to an algebra tutor because math didn't hit my brain. Once I wanted to create my own sweaters, mathematics didn't screw up my eyeballs and thoughts.


My Lace Pattern Directions

Still working on the Koigu Merino Laceweight lace shawl. And although I'm going to submit it to Knitty.com, was thinking that it might be nice to submit it to Vogue Knitting. Drawing a sketch is tough because I'm not that kind of artist. Might ask my Liz, the family artist, to do that for me. 

Ultimately, if my lace shawl isn't accepted, I'll dump it up on Ravelry. And when I write directions for Ravelry or other knitting patterns websites, I add instructions about what to do. 

For example, when you're knitting a large lace shawl, gotta count the number of pattern repeats, you should mark each repeat. This is how I do it, with the locking stitch markers. The first stitches are slip stitches and on the final row, the marker is attached to the first slip stitch.

Mister Ranger, the Knitting Kitteh

Ranger will be 3 years old Monday, October 6. He's not a normal kitteh. Doesn't swap my yarn but once chewed my wooden knitting needles. He sits in my spinning wheel chair but when I spin, is uninterested in the movement.

Here he is, chewing a needle. I took this picture because he's so cute! And he didn't break the needle point.

Rhinebeck and Stitches East

Next weekend, Stitches East. And I haven't decided whether I'm going to go because it's up in Hartford Connecticut, a 3.5 hour drive from where I live...Budd Lake, NJ. On Facebook, asked my FB friends who was going to Rhinebeck, aka New York State Sheep and Wool Festival

My dear Tonstant Weaders, if you're going, I'll be up by the food area at the top of the little hill, near Building A around 11 a.m. And will have my Ravelry button pinned on my shirt. Yes, it's KnitCurmudgeon. 

Back writing here next week...if I go to Stitches, will take a pile of pictures...although way back when, I photographed all the hideous sweaters I saw people wearing there and Franklin told me that because I published them, photographing was then forbidden. Heh. I did what I called the Hideous Sweater Gallery, back when my blog was on its own website address. Blogger let you use a website back then. All those pictures are gone. 

So write to ya later, skanks!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lazy Lacy? NO!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

“Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence. Of course superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage.” --Elizabeth Zimmerman

Lazy Lacy

Yeah, I love creating titles for my designs and articles. I'm busy doing a lace shawl design, made with the new Koigu Lace Merino. Can't show ya the lace design due to its submission to Knitty, but here's a picture of what I'm using.



The lace stitch pattern is relatively easy, Lazy Lacy. HA! It's pretty and memorizable.

I often teach my knitting friends and their lace mistakes are big problems. Here are a couple, with slight solutions .

Mistake #1: On the wrong side, my stitches next to my yarnovers (YOs) are twisted, yanked down and I have to twist them back so I can insert the needle. If the yarnover is wrapped tightly on the needle, it will yank the stitch next to it and cause the twist. So when you make a yarnover, do it loosely so that the nextdoor stitches aren't twisted. Couldn't do a picture of this. So just make sure you create your YO loosely.

Mistake #2: Forgot to make a yarnover. You can pick up the strand between the two stitches where the yarnover should have been, making a little yarnover that hasn't been made correctly. Obviously, this yarnover is going to be smaller than the others. Depends on how extensive the lace pattern is. If it's simple, tink the stitches and reknit the row or round.
Using a lifeline can be helpful if you tend to screw up your lace pattern. Here's a YouTube KnitPicks video on how to do it. I don't put in a lifeline because I rarely make mistakes on lace patterns. 

I've been busy designing for two submissions to Knitty.com and I am about to put a bunch of sock designs up on Ravelry. 

Editing my own directions is easy. I tell my designer friends that they can edit their directions by ignoring them for at least a week. Once you've not read your directions, they become strange to your eyeballs and you can read and edit them accurately.

My Knitting Life History

Back when I was 22, I restarted knitting because working at a mental health hospital as a psychiatric technician, our head nurse, Florence, was a knitter. The ward that I worked at was a "Medical Ward" that cared for the operated patients, some psychotic and most were elderly. Once our patients were asleep, Florence and the patient carers sat by the patients' beds, watching TV. Florence knitted, one of my coworkers crocheted, and Florence told me to knit. I hadn't knitted since I was 18, knitting my first sweater, an Aran sweater for my uncle. After that, I didn't knit. But Florence got me back to knitting.

At that time, hubby Jimmy, who was an expert wooden ship modeler, told me that if I was going to knit, I should learn everything about knitting and become an expert like he was. Jimmy wrote a book that I edited.
Yes, it's still sold on Amazon.com. Here's the link

So as of 1972, I became a big knitter...and had my second daughter, Corinne. There is no knitting technique that I haven't done. Jimmy was proud of me and bought me my Schacht Matchless spinning wheel in 1999 when he took me to MD Sheep & Wool Festival. I lost Jimmy in 2002 and I know he'd be proud of me, having written a book too, along with knitting articles. When Knitty.com started, back in 2002, I submitted a sock design, Crusoe, and an article. Swatch Out!. Jimmy died in 2002. 

Next week comes another post, Tonstant Weaders! Gotta go back to knitting my lace shawl. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Fab Fiber Festivals!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep next year."--Elvis Presley

Had Elvis quit his singing and drug addiction, becoming a sheep breeder would have saved his life. HA!


Big Fiber Festivals Fun

This past weekend was wonderful. I always go to NJ Sheep & Fiber Festival, due to its closeness to my town. But this year, went to the Pennsylvania Endless Mountain Fiber Festival on Saturday. My friend Mindy Wilson's fiber business, Puff the Magic Rabbit, was there and I was happy to see her and buy her dyed yarn. She dyes fibers too. Here's a picture of her wonderful stuff there, the only items I bought. Have a big pile of spinning fibers but had to have hers. This I'll use on a spindle.

Have done a sock design, The Tweedly Socks, with Mindy's sock yarn, which I will give her. And wanted to design another sock pattern on her yarn. That's why I bought another.

 Mindy put this picture up on Facebook and I downloaded it. It's her booth.


Here's me and Mindy!

Mindy was my Knitting Curmudgeon reader and we met a few years ago at Rhinebeck. Many of my readers have become real friends. And if you're a reader here, would enjoy meeting you in person. I'll be at Rhinebeck, NY Sheep and Wool Festival, both Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19. My friend Duffy Stephens, another reader who became a real friend, is coming from Portland, Oregon, staying with me and I will take her up to Rhinebeck, along with a New York City yarn crawl. Fun!

Sunday I ran down to NJ 20th Annual Sheep & Fiber Festival that's at Hunterdon County Fairgrounds.
This festival is smaller than the Endless Mountains but is good, although I bought only one bag of fiber and a pretty bag. Was glad to meet my friend Gina, but didn't see my dear friend, Joe Wilcox, aka Queer Joe. I know Joe wanted to see me too. We were together a few weeks ago. Ain't enough time. He lives in New Hope, PA and my daughter Jennifer and I love to go there to shop and have lunch at a wonderful restaurant. Taking Jenn next month for her birthday...she going to be 45. Yes, I was a teenaged mother.

Tons of sheep at the NJ Festival. Cute! And yelling!
There were a few alpacas too. When I go to Rhinebeck, love the sheep and alpacas there. So Tonstant Weaders, let me know if you're going because will be glad to meet you.

Fiberality Designs

Still editing my own directions. And have designed a pretty lace pullover with Koigu Kersti. Might submit it to Knitty.com but that won't happen until March 1, 2015 for the First Fall + Holiday Headstart 2015.

Koigu had just come out with laceweight! I had designed a lace stole and finished knitting it with a rare laceweight but decided that I would do it in this! Bought it online from Jimmy Beans Wool. Click this link so you can see the fab colors. The color I purchased was this:

Jeez, got too many designs that must be knit. No, ain't hiring a knitter to do these. Once I finish the Koigu Kersti sweater, aka Jezebel Sweater, will redo the lace shawl. And have created an Aran sweater too, plus a pile of sock designs. So even though I don't have a real job, working constantly on my knitting designs. And have submitted my workshop listing because I love teaching knitters and spinners.

Even though I know how to crochet, haven't crocheted in a long time. Gonna start crocheting soon. Make my own crochet design, probably a baby afghan. Want to do baby knitting designs but need baby models. Ain't got any. My grandkids are now adults. Liz is now 22, Ian is 17. My friend Sheila has some little grandchildren so I might ask her if I can use them for modeling.

Anyhoo, it's time to end this post. Time to start a web design for Fiberality Designs, along with an Etsy setup. Once I get all the designs up on Ravelry, going to sell them elsewhere.

So, dear reader skanks, writin' for you next week.

Later, skanks!