Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday - Lace Scarf design

Good morning.  I still have the linen towel in progress and even though I worked on it, it doesn't look any different.  Hopefully I'll finish it in September.

I've started a new lace project - actually my own design for a beaded scarf - you know, one that you loop around your neck more for fashion than anything.  The middle section could be widened to make it a stole. It actually is a hard pattern and I've had to rip out a lot.  The edging is a 16 row repeat and this is pretty close to one full repeat.  I'm aiming for three completed repeats and then I'll write up the pattern.  Hard to see at this stage but I like the khaki color of the yarn against the blue beads - I wanted beads that reminded me of denim.

The beads are along the sides between the body and the edging - those will be straight lines when blocked - and there are beads on the central double decreases in the middle.   It has taken a while to get to this point and it is going in the right direction.

The other exciting thing is that my latest yarn samples arrived yesterday for the final swatching on the Aran sweater.  The darker one here is really a steel blue and the lighter one is actually much lighter than it shows here.  But I need to finish the lace sample first!  This is what you tell yourself when you know that you probably won't do that at all.

It is Wednesday again.  Head over to Tami's to check out all the great fiber things!

Monday, August 29, 2011

What happened here? or how to spend an hour playing with colors for adults

If you have never seen my blog before, you can skip this post.  If you have been here before, you will (hopefully) notice that there is something very different.  I'm determined to work on making my blog better and decided to use an ebook from Melissa Culbertson.  You can find it here. 

The problem with all of this is that you have to make decisions, and it is so much more fun to play with all the colors and options and choices.  But I like this better than the dark red that I had before - red is my favorite color but it was an overdose.

Let me know what you think.  I'll try not to change too many things at once.  I made myself promise to live with the graphics and colors for at least a month.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finished Object Friday - It's State Fair Time

I confess that I am cheating this week by showing older finished objects.  I just started blogging two months ago and these are from the January time frame.  But I'm justifying showing them because I just submitted them to the State Fair.  First a vest -

This is designed by Eunny Jang and is called Ivy League Vest.  I think you can download it for free  Ivy League Vest  I did this as my project for Master Knitter Level Two and got back a lot of comments on what could have been better.  I knit the second half of it on vacation and apparently had a much more relaxed gauge at that point.

Second is a lace scarf that was part of a guild series on lace knitting.  The pictures don't do it justice.  It has lots of tiny, sparkly beads on it.

I don't expect it to win based on last year's competition.  I took first place in shawls in 2009 and didn't even place last year!  Hopefully this at least gets honorable mention.  I should hear back next week on how I did.

You know the drill - lots of great projects over at Tami's.

Have a great weekend with lots of time for creativity.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

Not too much different on the needles right now.   The dish towel is in the seemingly endless plain stockinette stitch part, so no pictures of that.  You would say, has she done anything since last week?  The truthful answer - not much.  I'm also starting to play with a lace scarf and beads but not far enough along to show it.

So that leaves the Aran sweater I'm designing for the final project for Level three Master Knitter.  At this point I know I want to do a cardigan (I live in TX for heavens sake, we just passed the record for most days over 100 F in a year with 55 days and there is no end in sight).  I'd like to do it in one piece from the bottom up, with set in sleeves.  Not sure if I will do saddle sleeves and I need to decide on the neckline.

This is the biggest swatch so far.  It is actually too big for a front of the cardigan.  I'm thinking that I will eliminate the middle diamond and bobble.  That would make the edge diamond the center of the cardigan, then the Saxon braid and then the little coin cable.  Cheating and just folding the fabric over to hide the second diamond it would look like this:
Hmm, when I was knitting it I thought that would be okay, but now I'm not so sure.  What do you think?  Does the Saxon Braid need something more angular to each side?

I am happy with the ribbing below the Saxon braid, though I may take out a couple of purl stitches in the ribbing to tighten it up.  I have to work on the Diamond ribbing.

So there is plenty more work to do on this.  I've run out of yarn and ordered more in two different colors so my next swatching will also be testing colors.

To see all the great fiber projects in progress, go to Tami's

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Portfolio careers and personal business models

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what my next career move is.  Face it, the economy is not great and most people at my level are staying put in their jobs and most companies are not wanting to hire someone with a high price tag if they can get by without it.  So while I know there are many companies that need someone like me to create and build value for them, finding them right now is difficult.

But the good news is that I landed this strategic consulting job on my own.  And it is going fine.  After a week and a half, they (pseudo) offered me a full time job.  I say pseudo, because it was completely vague on the job role and no mention of money.  Do they think I just fell off the turnip truck and will be so excited to have a job offer that I won't negotiate on the $?  They have me confused with someone else.

So while there is a $ number at which I would say yes, I really don't want to be working 60 - 70 hours per week with them.  I really have been thinking about what does it mean to have a portfolio career and can I build something like that.  I have two leads on other part time consulting roles.  Could I possibly build something that has enough recurring revenue and opportunity for new projects and time for working on knitting designs?  That is really what is interesting to me.  Seems like I owe it to myself to try it.

I was reading a blog about entrepreneurs and freelancers and came across Gina Trapani from Freelance Switch. She has a Personal Business Model, described here which says she spends 30% of her time on  projects she does for love, 30% on projects she does for education/learning new skills, 30% projects she does for money alone, and then10% of her time on admin.  The jackpot of course is finding projects you love and learn from that pay money.  (For example I'm learning and earning from my current project but not loving it - two out of three is not bad.)

Her goal as a freelancer - make stuff that is meaningful, learn new skills and make some money.  That is a great mantra to live by.  So this afternoon and evening when I have meetings on the two pipeline prospects, I will keep that in mind.

By the way, today is the first day of school and here is obligatory first day of school picture.  The first year that my son is taller than I am.  Though I confess, I did poof my hair a bit today.   These are hipstamatic photos so they are supposed to be artsy like this - another word for blurry.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Finished Object Friday

Well the second time was the charm.  The tam fits and basically looks like it should!

and just so you can see the pattern, here it is from the top.

The red yarn held out, I probably had 5 yards left.  If I had more, I might try matching mittens.  Hmmm.  That is a thought.  

It's Friday, thank heavens! and that means head over to Tami's to see lots of great crafty goodness.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesdays

Not too much on the needles right now.  The first is a linen towel I’m doing for me to use in my kitchen.  So instead of lace it is stockinette but with a contrast border (eventually) at the top and bottom in a mosaic pattern. 

I’m also starting to work on the design of a aran sweater for the masters program.  So I have lots of swatches of cables.  These are some of my favorites.

Saxon Braid

XOXO Cable

Coin Cable

 I got lazy and didn't take the pictures in the best light.  Not sure yet which ones I will use.

This will be a long project in the making.  Hopefully it won’t be too many Wednesdays before there is something taking shape.

For great fiber works in progress, head over to Tami's.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Passing Knitting On

First, we did the birthday celebration last night and my mom loved the towels. My husband had said she will never use them because they look too nice. Sure enough, the first thing that she said was, no one is allowed to use these. She did promise to use them and wash them to soften them up. Here is a picture of her and my son, who is so happy to be taller than his grami.

I'm in a knitting discussion group, won't mention which one since I'm mostly a lurker - I don't think I have every posted. Lately they have been having an impassioned discussion on passing knitting on - should it be taught in schools, is it genetic, should we force our kids to learn, why didn't our moms teach us, etc… People are very passionate about it and sometimes in major disagreement. And this has been going on for over a week now.

I don't have strong opinions on most of those things. I'm too practical, with all the things kids have to learn now and the budget situation, adding knitting to the curriculum is not happening any time soon. But it did get me thinking about how I learned.

My mom's mom was a great needleworker. She sewed, crocheted, knitted, embroidered, quilted, you name it. She didn't use patterns and I don't ever recall her swatching or writing things down - thought to be honest as she got older that wasn't always such a good thing. When I was five she taught me to crochet and embroider. My best memories of her are of doing hand work with her. My mother laughs and says it skips a generation because she doesn't have interest in anything crafty. During college, I went back to crochet. I always liked the look of knitting better so I got a book and taught myself when I got out of college.
So in honor of my grandma who first shared with me the love of making things, here are a couple of pictures of things she left me. The runner above is knitted - not sure what she was going to do with it - possibly cafe curtains but I use it on a sideboard.  It was the last thing she made.

This is her workbasket - still perfectly serviceable after 50 plus years!

This is the box she kept all her thread in.  Who knows how long she had it.  It is probably 80 years old.  I keep my thread in it now too and needles as you can see.  When I got it, it still had spools of thread in it on wooden spools.  But I was in a practical moment and threw them out - surely the thread wasn't still good.  Occasionally, engineering training kicks in and overrules more sentimental thinking.  I wish I had those spools now.
I couldn't find a picture of her to share.  I have one from the thirties which is a formal picture.  She was beautiful.  I'm not sure where it is
now but it has to be here somewhere.  Even I wouldn't throw that out!

Who taught you to love making things?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Finished object Friday

Yeah it is Friday.  I did finish the linen towels in time for the Birthday Deadline.  They are for my mom and match a lot of her colors and rooms.  I think there turned out very nice, a bit stiff but they will get softer if with usage and washing (just throw in the washer)l  Here are some closer looks along with one I did in orange that isn't big enough but I'll use it in my kitchen.

This is an arrowhead lace pattern, pretty easy to follow.

Thank you all for the good wishes on the new job.  It is okay.  It is a consulting job, running a strategic planning process.  Definitely a temporary job, maybe two months, maybe a bit more but not something that will turn into full time.  Unfortunately they are a month behind in the planning work and the deadline is the end of the month.  We'll see where it leads but I'm glad to have it.  Not over joyed as you can tell but grateful.

Have a great Friday and head over to Tami's to see all the great finished objects.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Work in progress Wednesday

It's Wednesday.  This is a picture of my new and bigger tam, just sitting in my lap last night.  I think it will be better.  Hopefully.  I'm at the decreases so it will go quickly now.  Cross your fingers.

I haven't been knitting as much.  Lots going on.  I haven't been working lately and that is stressful.  I did about 6 - 7 months with a tech start up and it turned out to be not so wonderful an experience.  (I know that is grammatically questionable but I was trying not to be too negative.)  The good news is that I am starting a new job today!  It is a contract position running the strategic planning process for an IT company and has good potential to turn into something real.  It came up very quickly.  Phone interview Monday, in person yesterday and starting today.  So I am thankful and excited.  I'm actually looking forward to being a consultant/contractor.  The rush is because they have an all day strategic planning session today and they wanted me to be at that.  I'll give you an update on Friday.

Go on over WIP Wednesday's at Tami Ami's to see all the great finished items.  I'll be late getting there but I will tonight.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Big step

Today, I submitted my first knitting pattern for publication!  I won't hear for a month on whether it is accepted but I'm excited by the first step.  It is a pretty straightforward pattern for a kitchen dishtowel in a cotton/linen blend but it has bands of contrasting mosaic knitting.  It would be an easy way to learn mosaic knitting and also show off multi-color knitting (even though you use just one color per row).
We'll see how it goes.  I heard someone say this weekend that the only way you can fail is by not doing what you say you will do.  So I have done what I said I wanted to do.  We can only just keep moving (hopefully forward, but not always required).

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finished Object Friday

Hello there.  Here is the Twisted Stitches Hat I was working on a week or so back.  Finally blocked.
 I didn't do pictures with it on because it is sooo hot here - when I got home last night at 9 pm it was still over 100 degrees.  Certainly not blanket knitting weather!

Thanks to all those who gave advice on starch last week.  Turns out that they still sell starch in the grocery store, in the laundry section on the top shelf or bottom shelf where no one looks.  I started with spray starch and that helped but was not completely what i was looking for.  Next I'll try the liquid - which just some how seemed scarier.

It's Friday - yeah!  Head over to Tami's to see her cute little monster and all the other FO's.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday - Linen Towels

Not too much going on today.  Still working on the linen towels - I should make the birthday deadline with ease.  Linen does take some getting used to.  I'm hoping to be finished the second and tossing them in the washer today and seeing what it takes to soften them up.

It isn't exactly a WIP and it isn't a finished object either but here are pictures of my fair isle tam.  I read that to block these you use a dinner plate on top of a vase.  I found that very amusing but nothing else would have worked.  Unfortunately, it is too small.  I have this problem even though I swatch and measure and calculate.  So I didn't finish weaving in all the ends.  I need to find a young girl who will appreciate it.

I'm pleased with the design and colors, good thing since I get to make another - larger - one now.

Today is a big day at Tami's - one year of great finished objects.  Go check it out at  Tami Ami's blog.