Monday, January 20, 2014

Vogue Knitting Love!

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 Zimmermann

Curmudge Love!

EZ's quote was what I took into my brain, way back when. Back in 1973, when I was working as a psychiatric technician at Overbrook Hospital, the largest county mental institution in the U.S., my head nurse, Florence, was a knitter, and she pushed me back into my childhood knitting, starting with a garter stitch afghan. My first sweater was a Spinnerin Aran. But now, knitters have wonderful events. Vogue Knitting Live, Stitches, and Interweave Knits Lab. I taught myself and pushed my ass to be an expert knitter by 1983, when I was hired as the Assistant Knitting/Crochet Editor at McCall's Needlework & Crafts magazine, the major knitting mag then.

So when Vogue Knitting Live (VKL) in New York City started, I went and had a great time!

It was at the NY Hilton but now it's at the Marriott on Broadway near Times Square.

Yeah, I still go, although I don't take classes. But the VKL Marketplace is fab! The vendors there include the top NYC yarn joints--Habu Textiles, School Products Yarn (the oldest NYC yarn shop, and String Yarn. And tons of other incredible yarn shops and companies. One of my faves is Neighborhood Fiber Co. and they're there. I'm doing a design for them now.

As far as the classes are concerned, the instructors are top teachers. Even though I don't take classes, I always tell beginners to take their asses to VKL. In my novice book, "You Can Knit!", VKL was the first event I placed in the book's Reference chapter.

And there are fashion shows too. I watched the Rowan and Schachenmayr Fashion Show. Cool.
Knitting and crocheting art? Yes! This was artwork created by Ashley V. Blalock. The picture I took doesn't really show you how huge this lace piece is. But it's enormous. Check out her website.

So if you live out West, there's gonna be a VKL in Seattle March 14-16.  Go!

My Fiberality Designs
Yes, I'm not working again. As an IT Technical Writer and Trainer, gotta get contract jobs. And ain't got much money so I've decided to start selling my knitting designs, up on Ravelry. Here are the two that I'm putting up this week:  Go, Go Gansey Socks. I made the picture big so you can see the stitch patterns easier.

Here's the TweetlyDee Socks.

Got a ton of sock designs that I have to photograph. Did these with my iPhone. The feet belong to my plastic mannequin.

I wish I could get a full-time job editing on a knitting magazine again. Being a magazine editor was wonderful work.

So take care, skanks! Have had two readers friend me on FaceBook. Lots of my FB friends are readers too. Next week, I'll be the Steekin' Geek again, telling you about smartphone knitting apps.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Steekin' Geek Is Back!

Best Quote Heard All Day

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.--Steve Jobs

I'm a senior technical writer and trainer, that's the money career. Not knitting.  Way back in 1983 I was the Assistant Knitting Editor at McCall's Needlework & Crafts magazine. That's where I began my life as an editor and writer. Later on, in the '90s, computers hit the publishing industry, and me and my Art Director were the help desk peeps because we dealt with the magazine layout on PageMaker, one of the first magazine layout apps.

So these days, we've got a pile of knitting apps. My first computer was an Mac Plus back in the '80s. Now I own a MacBook and a Toshiba PC laptop. So my first knitting app went on the Mac Plus, it was Cochenille Design. I own a pile of knitting apps now but the charting apps are the ones that I use. Let's talk about them, skanks! I've given you the links so you can check each app's features. Read the user manuals that you can download for free. That will give you the info you need.

Charts Chasing

I own three charting apps--Knit Visualizer, Envisioknit Design Studio, and Intwined Studio. My original favorite charting app was Knit Visualizer, which I bought in 2008. Having used Microsoft Excel to do charts, I was pleased to get Knit Visualizer. However, it has never been updated, so it sucks. It also costs $185, available for Mac and PC. Too damned much money nowadays because Knit Foundry, the company that produces it, hasn't added upgrades. I created a chart in all three of these charting apps. This chart is just a dump of symbols, not a chart I've knitted. Just wanted to place symbols in a chart so you could see the same chart for each app. 

Here's the Knit Visualizer version.
Here's the EnvisoKnits chart:

And here's an Intwined Studio version:

These days, I use EnvisioKnit Design Studio or Intwined Pattern Studio. When you're creating a chart, your stitch symbols appear in a palette to the right of the chart. Intwined provides a "Stitches Used" tab on the palette, so when you're using a pile of symbols, you don't need to scroll down the palette constantly because your symbols are in this tab. Both EnvisioKnit and Knit Visualizer should add this to their apps.

Given all the features in these apps, you can download a demo for all of them. And there are other charting apps--Stitch Mastery, KnitBird, Knitting Chart Maker by Jacquie (an online app that's free!)and Cochenille Stitch Painter 3.

So check 'em out by downloading the demos and the user manuals, which are freebies. If you own a Mac, you can't get EnvisioKnit Design Studio. That's something EnvisioKnit's developer, Jane, who I met down at MD Sheep & Wool two years ago when her app had just become on sale, should do.

I'm pissed off about Knit Visualizer's lack of upgrades. Last week, I upgraded my MacBook's OS and now my Knit Visualizer Mac version doesn't work. I own the PC Knit Visualizer.

 There's a pile of apps for smartphones too. Just bought an iPhone because my Samsung Galaxy 3 broke. So I'm familiar with knitting phone apps too. Will let you know about those, eventually. I dumped the Steekin' Geek blog, so I'll be tech writing here. Not next week.

So long, skanks!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Seniority Knitter, Yeah!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot--John Lennon

Hiya, Tontstant Weaders! Yep, John was my writing god when I was 14. These days, now that I'm chronologically a senior, my life memories swing in my mind. Best High School friends Dottie Melcher and Peggy Carroll are still my pals. Because we all loved John Lennon's books, we called each other Lennon-type names. I am "Mother Marsh," Dottie is "Dob", Peggy is "Pegret."

And I am still in touch with my HS boyfriend. He is my love still, even though we hadn't been in touch for 44 years. Found him two years ago and we have seen each other twice now. So yeah, I'm mentally 17. LOL! I'm going to design a pair of Aran socks and he'll get them.

Mommy My Knitting Teacher

Mom is now 90 and still knitting. I remember the day she taught me how to knit. I was seven and a bouncy kid. I loved digging into Mom's knitting basket, her plastic markers were what I'd yank out of the basket, loving their colors. So she decided to take me to the five 'n' ten uptown, to buy me my own yarn and needles. She bought me Red Heart, the Fiesta color, and a pair of #8 Boye straight needles. And she cast on about 15 stitches and I was garter stitching fast. She was a great knitting teacher. 

I loved making the stitches, watching the color changes. So I made myself a scarf. After that, when Barbie doll arrived in 1960, I got her, sewing and knitting the doll clothes. Then I stopped knitting, until I was 18, knitting for Jimmy, my second boyfriend and ultimately my husband. My first sweater was an Aran pullover for him. Mom had to show me how to cast on again. And told me to stop asking her to cast on for me. These days, Mom asks me knitting shit. And asks me to design stuff for her stash. 

TweetlyDee Socks

Got a pile of sock designs that I'm gonna put up on Ravelry. Here's the TweetlyDee stitch sample. I shot this on my new iPhone and it's not this bright's a deep purple. 
My friends on Facebook have already seen this shit. Many of my FB friends were my readers back when I started this blog in 2002. And many are now fucking knitting celebs.

Knitting Editing

Yeah, I do this, although I'm a senior IT technical writer and trainer. Helping some of my knitting pals to learn how to edit knitting directions. I would love to do a Knitting Directions Editing workshop. These days, there are tons of novice designers, given all the fucking web joints that let you sell your knitting designs. God knows that Ravelry has the top percentage of novice designs. Shannon Okey has written an excellent book, 
The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design. My first career was an assistant knitting editor. Once I was finished being a magazine editor, that's when I got into IT. These days, I miss knitting magazine editing. 

Still The Knitting Curmudgeon?

I'm not as cranky as I used to be, although the knitting industry has become outrageously huge. Years ago, boucle yarn was the only fashionable stuff. These days, there's so much yarn shit that it's often hard to decide what's best. I love Koigu, Noro, and some of my friends' stuff. Carol Sulcoski and Mindy Wilson make lovely dyed yarns. Some of my new sock designs are done in their sock yarns.

Back when I started this blog, I was in grief, due to my husband's death. Jimmy saw my original Knitting Curmudgeon AOL website and laughed at me. But once he was gone and the knitting industry began to jump up, I was annoyed. These days, I'm not, although frankly there is so many magazines now, it's gotta be tough for knitting novices to figure out what they need. I'm glad that I wrote that interactive book, "You Can Knit!". I'm thinking about writing another interactive book but this one I will create, due to my developer abilities.

So, later, skanks! Glad to be back every week. And if you like, friend me on Facebook. I'll take ya!
Next week, I'm gonna do Steekin' Geek stuff. Talk about knitting apps and give you my reviews.