Sunday, April 27, 2014

No Lazy Lacing, Designed Lace Stitch Pattern--"Ellie's Heart"

Best Quote I Heard All Day 

"Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”--John Lennon

When John published "In His Own Write" back in 1964, my best girlfriend Dottie and I were inspired. We were both huge Beatle fans and John was our love. "Love Is All You Need" indeed! Dottie was a wonderful artist...still is, and I was already a writer, having had a short story published on our Junior High literary magazine.

This past Friday was my birthday and I have plenty of friends; however, I ain't as young as the number of them. Spent my birthday knitting...of course.

Designing Lace On Your Own

Although there's no knitting technique I've never done, lace is my happiness. Have designed a pile of lace socks and scarves, which eventually I'll put up on Ravelry. But on my birthday, decided that I wanted to create my own lace stitch pattern, not grabbing something from one of my many stitch pattern reference books.

And because Mom has been in my heart constantly, due to her death a month ago, I decided that I would create a lace stitch pattern that Mom would have knitted. I can teach ya how to create your own lace stitch patterns! Would love to teach at Vogue Knitting Live or Stitches. Have been a tech trainer for a long time and know how to help folks learn.

So I began designing this lace stitch pattern on a chart app and its title is "Ellie's Heart" because Mom was Eleanor aka Ellie. Here's the swatch. Yeah, it's hard to see the actual design but as you knit it, you can adjust the design.
Stuck it on my lamp shade, using my IPhone camera. Obviously, this swatch helped me make numerous adjustments to the heart. The swatch has two pattern repeats so I could fix the area between the two repeats. That big diamond at the bottom had no yarnovers, so I added some. Don't want a big stockinette stitch section. The swatch is done on lace yarn but I will probably use fingering or sport weight and dump it into a cardigan design. Blocking is upcoming.

F'ing Knitting Career

Mom always told me that I should consider my knitting designing and knitting article writing as a career once I retire. Yeah, that's a good idea. I'm a technical writer and trainer and have been searching for a job but companies rarely hire you as a full-time employee...just want ya for a project that might last a few months.

I do knitting editing lately for designers and wish I could go back doing that on a mag. Lately, I've bought my three favorites--Vogue Knitting, Knitter's, and Interweave Knits. All of their springtime issues have been wonderful. A long time ago, I bitched about their photography and layouts but these days the mags are 100% improved.

My only criticism is that these magazines need more articles--techniques and articles about designers, fibers, and other knitting/crochet items. Yeah, you buy the mags for patterns but it's nice to read shit. Back in 2007 for Interweave Knits, I wrote an interview I did with Kristin Nicholas and they had me write a short article about Ravelry, which was in its beta setup. I also wrote a Raveling piece too. And one of my first sock designs was given to when it first started. Haven't published anything since then. Just my interactive book, "You Can Knit! A Better Way to Learn Knitting Basics."

Well, it's Sunday and time to beat feet from blogger. Happy to be back here writing.

See ya, skanks! So many of you have become my friends. And I hope I can go to MD Sheep & Wool next weekend. If I do, the next blog post will be about my trip.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ellie, My Knitting Mommy

Best Quote I Heard All Day

"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." 
  -- Elizabeth Zimmermann

Yes, it's been months since I've blogged. Why? Primarily because my mother Ellie was failing and I spent time with her. Many of my readers remember me writing about Ellie a lot! So here's why I'm writing about her again. Finally.

So Long, Mommy!

Mom died last month, March 28th, on her own mother's birthday date! And at 90. Here she is on her 90th birthday last August. Looked great!
Back in 1957, Ellie taught little Marilyn how to knit. Why? Because little Marilyn loved to fuck around with her mother's knitting markers, due to their colors. We lived in Montclair, New Jersey, where Mom still lived until she passed away.

So Mom dragged me to Upper Montclair's 5&10, buying me Red Heart multi-colored yarn and a pair of Boye aluminum #8 needles. Told me I could make myself a scarf. She cast on stitches for me and showed me how to insert the needle to make a knit stitch. "Do this to all the loops, dear. Until you reach the end. And I'll show you how to make more stitches!" Yeah, I remember what she said.

I was excited! And loved to see the colors change as I made new stitches. She sat with me and hugged me. "When you finish this, I will show you how to make the other kind of stitch, sweetie. It's called a purl stitch." And she did.

By the time I finished my little scarf, Mom started showing me how to cross-stitch. So by the time I was 8 years old, could knit and sew. Here I am with her at 8, with my brother Rich too.

Stopped knitting until I graduated from high school. And Ellie wasn't knitting either, doing needlework. But once I had my two daughters in the early '70s, we both knit for them. And Mom showed me how to cast on again because I had no knitting books then.

Here we are last year, knitting together. All my Facebook friends have seen this picture. I love it.
EZ's quote above is so true. Yeah, still knitting madly, sans Ellie. And still crying for my Mommy loss; however, she saw my recent knitting the day before she died. And loved it, although was too sunk to knit in the hospital. My sister is donating all of Mom's knitting needles and yarn to her church's knitting group. Blessed.

Recent Design Shit

Yeah, I'm not working still but am designing. Gonna create an e-book called "Sock It To You!" that will contain a pile of my sock designs.

The book will have socks done in lace, textures, Fair Isle, and more. I'll put it up on Ravelry for sale. I've designed Gansey and Aran socks too. My last post has pictures of two designs that are going to be in the book. Go, Go Gansey socks and Tweetly Dee socks. Was going to put them up on Ravelry but due to Mom's illness, didn't finish the directions. All the book's designs will be available individually too.

Take care, my beloved skanks. I'll be back writing again. Mom loved my book and I know that she'd be concerned that I stopped writing due to her death. Next week is my birthday.