Monday, June 4, 2012

Knitscene Accessories 2012: Sea Legs Scarf

I was lucky enough to have TWO designs published in Knitscene Accessories 2012. Yesterday I talked about the Doe River Mittens and today I get to debut the Sea Legs Scarf (Rav it).

I've had this scarf in mind for a very long time and I'm so very glad it found a home in this issue. It fit right in with their Fisherman's theme and the yarn and color were absolutely perfect for this design.
Photo courtesy of Knitscene

It's intended to be extra long to wrap around your neck multiple times and still have some length to drape down your body. Think of it as a nice alpaca hug.

Here's a little snippet from my original submission that explains how the cables move through the scarf:

The design is fully charted and it’s such a wonderfully simple pattern that will hold your interest but is classically comfortable at the same time.

Photo courtesy of Knitscene

The knitty gritty:
Size 8" wide and 92" long
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Melange (100% baby alpaca; 110 yd [100 m]/50 g):
• #809 toasted almond, 8 skeins
Gauge: 34 sts and 30 rows = 4" in chart patt
• Size 5 (3.75 mm) needles
• Cable needle (cn)
• Yarn needle

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Knitscene Accessories 2012: Doe River Mittens

I'm learning to love the long cycles of print publications. There's so much time between when you complete the sample and when the design finally makes its debut into the world that you kind of forget that it even existed...and then you get to fall in love with it all over again once it's released!

That's definitely the case with the Doe River Mittens (Rav it).  Knit in the buttery soft Knit Picks Andean Treasure, these mittens combine twisted stitches, ribbing, cables, bobbles, and reverse stockinette in a smart and sophisticated mitten.
Photo courtesy of Knitscene
Knit from the top down using circular needles & Magic Loop, the tip of the mitten starts out with twisted stitch rib and then moves into an offset cable and bobble detail for the body of the mitten and then moves back into twisted rib for the cuff.  A faceted bead is sewn into the center of each 4-bobble cluster for a fancy touch.
Photo courtesy of Knitscene
The palm of the mitten is all worked in twisted rib, with the thumbs finished off in reverse stockinette.

The knitty gritty:
Size: 8½" hand circumference and 9" tall
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Treasure (100% baby alpaca; 110 yd [101 m]/50 g): fog heather, 2 balls
Gauge: 34 sts and 31 rnds = 4" in k1tbl, p1 rib
• Size 3 (3.25 mm) needles (see Notes)
• Markers (m)
• Cable needle (cn)
• Yarn needle
• Waste yarn
• Six 4 mm clear or light silver faceted beads
• Bead needle
• Thread

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Keeping your cool when spotting a knitting celebrity

For the most part, nothing knitterly happens in my town. And if it does, I know about it. So, it was quite unexpected last week when I happened to bump into a knitting celebrity all the way up here in seemingly-middle-of-nowhere Alaska.

Picture this:  I'm sitting at my desk last Thursday completely exhausted from working 15 hour days and I'm barely able to keep my eyes open.  My coworkers' voices blaring from my handheld radio kept me company as I half listened to the train being loaded at the rear of the Depot.  All of a sudden I hear over the radio, "Ticket office to Stationmaster: Will you please make an announcement for an Anne Kuo. We have her passport at the ticket window. It was found in the parking lot."

Hmmm...Anne Kuo....Anne Kuo....Anne Kuo....My sleepy mind was ticking through its contents as quickly as it could and then it dawned on me why this name sounded familiar. Now fully awake, I got up from my desk and walked down the hallway to the ticket office to investigate, just as the stationmaster was making the announcement for the holder of the lost passport.  I mean, it really couldn't be who I thought it was, could it?

I'm standing there in the ticket office looking out at a lobby full of people when I see a woman recognize her name being called over the loud speaker.  Holy crow, it's Anne Kuo Lukito, of Crafty Diversions fame!  I recognized her right away from the many online photos of herself modeling her amazing designs.

I snatched the passport out of the hand of my staff member and headed out the door, not wanting to miss the opportunity to say hello.  I was so excited that I found that I was having to force myself to swallow the goofy grin I had on my face so that I could avoid looking like I had just escaped from the looney bin.  I was also having a hard time breathing just like the first time I met Harrison Ford. I never said I was going to be cool about this.

As I handed the passport to her, I asked Anne what I already knew:  "Are you THE Anne Kuo, aka Crafty Diversions?"

Of course, she said she was and I told her that I was also a knitter/designer.  She asked me my name and I told her Allison Haas, but I blog/design under the name Alaskan Purl. She said she had heard of my name (be still my heart) and then we exchanged pleasantries and she was on her way to board the train.

And thus began my morning of completely geeking out over the fact that I had just met Anne Kuo Lukito in the WPYR Depot lobby. My coworkers were probably sick of hearing about it by the time the day was over.  But I couldn't help bragging. Nothing like this ever happens to me.

About five minutes after I talked to her, I felt my pocket vibrate and so I pulled out my phone to find a nice little shout out from Anne on Twitter!

How cool is that?!

I think what most struck me about my chance encounter was just how random it was. I mean, of all the thousands of people in town that day, it was Anne whose passport somehow slipped out of her grasp as she walked through the Depot parking lot. Then a kind person found it and turned it into our ticket office. And then I happened to hear the radio call, out of the many dozens that happen throughout the morning, when I'm actually quite bad about having it turned up loud enough for me to hear anything at all.  And then I was the one who got to deliver the lost passport to her.

I guess the universe just knew that I needed a pick-me-up. Who knew that a lost passport could bring so much joy? Well done, universe.  Well done.

Twist Collective Spring: Asti

I can't believe it's been nearly two months since Asti was released in the Spring Twist Collective and I haven't given it a proper post. Things have been more than a little out of balance and I sadly have not had time to pick up my needles in many many weeks. Working 15 hour days leaves room for little else.

But enough complaining! On to the good stuff...

Worked from the toe up, Asti incorporates many elements of spring in the design.  The simple rib in the toe leads to cables snaking up the foot, just like roots of a plant. Then moving up the ankle, the roots grow into stems that move off to the edges of the ankle and bloom into bobbles arranged as flowers.  Meanwhile, the remainder of the front of the sock is finished off on a background of seed stitch.
A lovely mirror image
A perfect side view 
A close-up of the bobble bloom detail...add a bead in the middle for a fancy alternative!
The back view - A simple 2x2 rib to play against the ornate front

The knitty gritty:

Finished measurements:Foot circumference: 7 ½ (8)" / 19
(20.5) cm, unstretched
Leg length: 6" / 15 cm to top of heel
Shown in size 7 ½" / 19 cm
2 (3) skeins O-Wool Classic 2-ply
(198 yds / 181 m per 1 ¾ oz / 50 g skein; 100% Certified Organic Merino) in #2113 Robin’s Egg
Needles & Notions:
Size 1 US / 2.25 mm circular needle, 32" / 80 cm long
Cable needle, stitch markers, tapestry needle
34 sts and 56 rnds = 4" / 10 cm in
Stockinette stitch
Construction Notes: Socks worked from the toe up with a gusset-and-flap heels. The stitch patterns are mirrored on the two socks. Stitch patterns are presented in both Charts and row-by-row instructions.

Click here to purchase via Twist Collective's site...happy knitting!

Monday, April 30, 2012


So, I'm so behind the times that I've neglected to mention my new design out in the Spring Twist Collective a couple weeks ago.  Asti is a sock design that incorporates many elements of spring....seed stitch, root-like cables, and blossoms!  (Rav it here.)

I'll be back soon to give it a proper blog post!  But until then, feel free to go give it some love on Ravelry.  ;)  Let's see if we can make it the most favorited sock design in this edition!

Photo courtesy of Twist Collective

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unraveling Affection

Yes, I know. It's been a while.

You see, about two months ago I got a promotion at work, which I am super excited about.  With any new job, one would expect a steep learning curve during the transition period.  However, my situation has been complicated by the fact that I, with a seemingly sane and clear mind, said that I would perform both my old job and my new job for the next 7 months, so as to have as minimal impact as possible on our summer operations.

While all that seems like a valiant thing to do in support of my employer, it's made a complete disaster of my personal life. Working 12-14 hour days has taken its toll on me and the evidence is obvious with one look in my house.  Piles of dishes, dirty laundry, rotten food in the fridge.  Just one day off since March 1 and I spent that day sleeping.

So, needless to say, knitting has also been sadly moved to the back burner.  I can't even carry a conversation when I get home from work, let alone read a chart or write up a pattern.  Luckily I have no upcoming deadlines and I made the very wise decision this winter/spring to not submit to any upcoming publications so that I could work on my own designs at my own pace.

But when Maya at Springtree Road put up an update a while back, I snapped up some of her gorgeous sock yarns in a very pale dusty lavender, dark charcoal grey, and a bright deep fuchsia with a Color Affection shawl in mind.  I figured, hey, it's all garter stitch. Exactly what I need for a "me" project, since I haven't had any just-for-fun knitting in a really long time.  What could possibly be easier than that?

Turns out a lot of things.  Even garter stitch is a little too much for my fried brain right now.  I've had to start this effing thing over 4 times now.  This most recent time I actually thought that I had finally gotten it right.  All my stitch counts were correct after each row and things seemed to be progressing swimmingly.  I was envisioning myself wearing my new shawl maybe by the 4th of, possibly Halloween...hmmmm, definitely by Christmas.

But something kept nagging at me all along that my edges were way too tight.  But I kept ignoring that little itch in my brain until I realized that, yes, the edges were way too tight and I couldn't in good conscience let myself continue this way and feel good about it.

But instead of ripping it out immediately like I usually do, I carried it around in my bag for a few days, thinking that maybe I just needed to let it rest.  Because we all know there's nothing worse than that feeling you get after you frog something and then you realize that you really didn't need to after all.  Am I right?

Somehow, I guess I was hoping that the knitting gods would cure my knitting of its terminal disease.

But this afternoon I realized that the handwriting was on the wall and I just needed to pull the plug. So, even though I was in the office and should have been doing the bazillion things on my to do list, I pulled the sickly project out of my bag and put it out of its misery.

And afterwards, I felt so much better.  Who knew that a fresh start would feel so good?

Casting on again tonight for the fifth time.  Going to try keep the edges super loose. At least I know I'm not the only one with this problem.  The Yarn Harlot had to frog her Color Affection for this very same reason. I'm in very good company indeed.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jayne Cobb Hat

Last summer I got an email from Liz, who works for another tour company in town. She was organizing the annual silent auction for the local chapter of ATIA, the Alaska Travel Industry Association and wanted to know if I wanted to donate something to the silent auction, namely to design a hat for the highest bidder.  Being in the stressful middle of the summer, my knee-jerk reaction was, "Hell no!", but Liz admitted that it was a wholly selfish request she had made of me since she wanted a new hat and would make sure to be the highest bidder.

This development presented me with a much more palatable proposition. You see, in my eyes, Liz is pretty stylish and the thought of designing a hat for her seemed really attractive.  My mind was already swirling with ideas and I was excited to also eventually turn this into another design that I could release to the masses.

So, I agreed to do it and then immediately put it out of my mind.  Then came the day after the auction and my curiosity was getting the best of me so I inquired how much my design-a-hat donation had gone for....I can't actually remember how much (I think $80?), but what immediately caught my attention was that the highest bidder was....someone named Adam. Say what?!

I'm not sure how it happened that Liz was not the highest bidder, but I now had to design a hat for someone I didn't know...and was a little worried about it. I mean, what if they made outrageous demands of me and made me knit them a really long stocking cap that would take forever (lord knows, I didn't have the time for that) or a really complicated whoosie-whatsie style that I didn't know anything about?  My mind was again swirling, but not in a good way.

So, I got a call from Adam not long after to discuss the hat.  He told me he wanted the hat from the tv show Firefly, which I had never heard of.  He told me I would recognize it if I saw it and that I should Google "Jayne Cobb Hat". That did absolutely nothing to clarify, but I now knew the task at hand.  Pretty easy-peasy Stockinette in the round....even in my stupefied burned-out-from-the-summer state, I felt like I could crank this out pretty quickly.

But...I had to find just the right yarn and then just the right colors, which proved to much harder than I thought. I scoured Rav and found about a bajillion versions of this hat, which helped immensely in finding the right combination. I settled on Lamb's Pride Bulky and put in my order.

The yarn arrived just before my trip home to Ohio in October, so I was able to work a few rounds before I left.  And then I figured I would wait until I returned to finish it, which I estimated would take no longer than a weekend.  But then November arrived...and then December...and then January, and still the hat sat there unfinished.  I got a call from Adam in late January asking if I was almost finished and I felt so sheepish (why, yes, pun intended) when I told him that it was still not done.

I'm not sure what is taking me so long...oh wait, yes I do.  The yarn and needles are killing my hands, the colors are not my favorite, and that Stockinette in the round that sounded to wonderful during the summer was now boring me to pieces. Add all those things together and you've got the recipe for months of procrastination.

So, cue Saturday February 11, 2012.  Today is the day I have decided that the WIPs that have been weighing on my brain have got to be finished so that I can move on to other things.  Especially WIPs that only have a small amount left to do, like this hat.

I'm almost finished with the crown decreases and should have the earflaps and pompom finished tomorrow. And I can call this biotch finished! Yeah!

Up next on my WIPs-who-will-be-finished-or-else list is the Pineapple Lace piece that really should have been finished a year ago. I'm completely embarrassed that it's still not finished. But not for long!  It's going down

But first....earflaps.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stitch and Bitch, Skagway style

For awhile now I've wondered what it would be like to have a knitting community in my immediate vicinity.  For so long I've been a solitary knitter and I prefer that, for the most part. Knitting is intensely personal for me: a time to really be still with my thoughts while I mull over every topic under the sun, from what I'm going to eat for dinner to what my life's purpose is (deep, I know).

I've grown in my craft for the most part by myself, with no one around to tell me that I'm doing something wrong, or that I'm doing something right. I kind of vaguely knew that there were others here in Skagway who knit, but it was never anyone who I felt like I would or could hang out with.  So my stitch and bitch nights consisted of me, myself and I. And I really started to wonder what it would be like to not have to bitch to myself.

So, to solve my problem of having no one to stitch and bitch with, I've been casually pushing my friends to learn how to knit.  A couple weeks ago, a lady in town offered a beginning knitting class and I oh-so-discreetly texted my friend Sarah and told her about it.  Sarah has been on the receiving end of some of my handiwork, so I knew she was at least semi-interested in knittery things.  I was so excited when she decided to go!

She learned the basics in the class and then came shopping in my stash last week for a suitable yarn for her first project (she chose a gorgeous blue alpaca blend yarn, by the way...a girl after my own heart). We then had our first stitch and bitch the following night at a local bar. 

We numbered only three but I'm encouraged that we'll have another very soon and hopefully our numbers will grow. It was surprisingly nice to knit in the presence of others...and I felt only a little bit self-conscious (mostly because of the curious looks we were getting from fellow barflies), but I'm hoping that will wear off in time. And I'm hoping that I can encourage even more of my friends to pick up sticks! Yeah!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winter IK 2011 Preview

Be still my knitting heart.

I have been obsessively going to Interweave's website to see when the Winter IK preview photos would be uploaded.

I guess maybe I haven't checked in a day or so, but this morning I went to see if anything new had been put up has!

My Offset Cable Mittens are included in this very first print publication!

Here's are some links you should follow right now!

Winter IK 2011 Projects Preview
Offset Cable Mittens - Extra Photos 

I'll give these mittens a proper post soon, but I just had to shout this from the rooftops as soon as I could. You understand, right? Right.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Twist Collective Winter - Swansea...New Design!

Okay, so the Winter 2011 edition of Twist Collective has been out a little over 24 hours now and I'm still not coming down from the high I got from leafing through the virtual pages.  What an amazing collection!  A couple of my favorites are Yukimi by Maureen Hefti and Bellevue by Robin Melanson.  But my jaw literally dropped when I saw Voluta by Rachel Erin. One word: Stunning.  But you really can't go wrong with any of the designs in this edition. I might choose to knit them all if I had the chance!  You definitely have to appreciate the amazing talent that goes into creating these unique gems.

Considering the caliber of talent in this issue, I'm so honored and excited to have a design included!  

Photo by Jamie Dixon...Courtesy of Twist Collective
Swansea is a hat/mitten combo that combines twisted stitches and nupps, two of my hugest obsessions right now.  I liked the idea of the twisted stitch rib coming from different directions and then interlacing, ending in a cute little bobbly's my original vision in the submission swatch, knit in KP Wool of the Andes.
Taking that idea and adding in some Quince & Co Lark in a vibrant green and you get the finished product below! While the stitch pattern covers the back of the hand, the palm and thumb are worked in the simple but lovely reverse stockinette.

Photo by Jamie Dixon...Courtesy of Twist Collective
 Now, my original submission was just for mittens, but Kate asked me if I could come up with a complementary hat.  An idea had been already bouncing around in my brain, so I naturally said I would and the resulting topper turned out just as I had pictured.
Photo by Jamie Dixon...Courtesy of Twist Collective
Although I had envisioned these designs knit up in a heathered yarn (when DON'T I envision something in a heather?!), I thought the solid effect turned out great and was a perfect fit for their Bright Spots feature.  

Photo by Jamie Dixon...Courtesy of Twist Collective
Let's get down to details, shall we?

Finished measurements:
Mitten circumference: 7 ¾ (8 ½)" / 19.5 (21.5) cm
Length: 9 ½ (10 ½)" / 24 (26.5) cm
Shown in size 7 ¾" / 19.5 cm

Head circumference: 18 ½ (19 ¾, 21, 22 ¼)" / 47 (50, 53.5, 56.5) cm
Hat height: 8 (8 ½, 9, 9 ½)" / 20.5 (21.5, 23, 24) cm
Shown in size 18 ½" / 47 cm
Intended to be worn with 2" / 5 cm of negative ease.
3 skeins Quince & Co. Lark (134 yds / 123 m per 1 ¾ oz / 50 g hank; 100% American Wool ) in Parsley
Two skeins of yarn will make either the hat or the pair of mittens.
Needles & Notions:
Size 5 US / 3.75 mm needles in style preferred for small circumference knitting in the round and 16" / 40 cm circular needle.
Two stitch markers, tapestry needle, waste yarn
26 sts and 34 rows = 4" / 10 cm in p3, k1 tbl ribbing in the round
24 sts and 34 rows = 4" / 10 cm in Stockinette stitch in the round
Construction Notes: The mittens are worked from cuff to tip, and the hat is worked from the bottom up. The twisted rib and bobble patterns are presented in both charts and row-by-row instructions.

To purchase Swansea, please follow this link to the Twist Collective website.  Thanks very much for your interest!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Alluvia of a different color

When Alluvia was released last year, I really had no idea how it would do. It had been rejected from a couple print publications but it finally found a home in the Knit Picks IDP.  Once released, it earned its advance back pretty quickly and sales were fairly brisk. And then it was included in a Knit Picks email newsletter as the featured pattern and...well...things just completely exploded after that.

I've been so encouraged by the response to this design and it's been so fun to see new projects pop up on Ravelry and on other blogs. I especially love seeing what color combinations people come up with. I'm a color whore when it comes to knitting so some of the color selections that people have used have really made my heart squeal.

There have been a couple of the bags completed in the last few days that have really caught my attention... check out this Alluvia bag that Talitha Kuomi created.  Isn't it so effing lovely?!  She used KP Wool of the Andes as the original pattern calls for, but instead of having each ruffle be a different color, she just striped the yarn any which way she wanted as she worked through the ruffles and I positively love the effect.  She also didn't felt it and instead of i-cord she added a really cool belt as the strap, all of which contributed to a really unique Alluvia.  Love it!

As I was browsing through Rav this morning, I also saw this Alluvia from pansylane.  How cool is that?  She used KP Palette instead of Wool of the Andes and the result is a perfectly beautiful and lighter weight Alluvia.  I love how she styled her FO pictures as well.

Hmmm....I might have to order some Palette today and try that out for myself.  But Palette comes in so many lovely colors, I wouldn't even know where to begin.  And let's be honest...I have more than enough on my knitting plate right now.

Have you created an Alluvia that hasn't been posted on Ravelry yet?  If so, head on over there right now - HURRY! -  and upload some photos...I'd love to see them!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A stitch for your thoughts

I've got nothing truly knitting-related to post today and yet I felt compelled to say something.  

All weekend I've felt like I was ready to snap. I've not been sleeping well, which makes me super cranky. I'm in ultra-crunch time for two different deadlines coming up on the same day and I won't be sleeping anytime soon until both samples are finished. I've been knitting so much for the deadlines that my hands are aching. And to top it off, work is still super stressful at this point in the year and I'm still working 70+ hours/week, when generally this is the time I can let my guard down a bit and relax and actually enjoy a weekend. I'm stuck in the tunnel with no light in sight.

So, yeah. I'll admit I was feeling a bit sorry for myself today.

And then I heard the news that the father of a former roommate, good friend, & fellow knitter had passed away this morning after a very short battle with a previously undiagnosed cancer.  And everything snapped into perspective.  Yes, the knitting deadlines and my day job are important to me, but nothing about them is life and death. Needless to say, I'm feeling a little humbled.

So, if you've got a few stitches to spare tonight, knit a few for a fellow knitter who could use some good thoughts as she grieves over the loss of her father. 

As for me, I'm going to be sending some stitches, love, and positive thoughts across the miles to her too.  

And I'll also be daydreaming of the fall when things are less stressful and I can play around with this gorgeous fiber from Blue Moon that came in the mail not long ago.  Those colors are enough to even bring a smile to my cranky face. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Twist Collective Fall 2011 - Footsie

The Twist Collective Fall 2011 issue went live last night....and I am so in love with absolutely every pattern in this issue.  There are 38 designs (!) and a pattern by yours truly just happens to be one of them!

Meet Footsie.
Photo courtesy of Twist Collective
Footsie is a his-and-hers sock pattern that was worked up in two different yarns from the amazing and gorgeous Sweet Georgia Yarns.  The men's version (on the left above) was worked in BFL Sock in the Cypress colorway and the women's version (on the right) was knit up in CashLuxe Fine in Botanical.  Meandering twisted stitches surround a simple central cable panel that is mirrored on the opposite sock.  The central cable is repeated on the heel and up the back of the sock, with twisted rib on either side.

I had to knit up both of these pairs of socks in just about two and a half weeks back in April. Now that might be a piece of cake to some of you, but I'm a fairly slow knitter (well, more than anything, I'm a distracted knitter) so I literally spent every waking moment during those couple of weeks knitting these socks.  I probably got about 3 hours of sleep each night because I knew I had to use up every spare moment to get them finished by the deadline.

And use up every spare moment I did...I finished knitting both pairs the morning that I absolutely had to get them in the mail in order for them to arrive on time via 2nd Day Air.  I almost didn't have time to block them, but I wanted them to look their best, so I quickly dunked them in some hot water and then used the triple-threat method to dry them:  a combination of ironing, tumbling in the dryer and my hairdryer.  I was still trying to dry them 10 minutes before I had to be at the post was a real nail biter but I pulled it off!

Both yarns were amazing to work with, but CashLuxe Fine has captured a special place in my heart. In fact, last night when I couldn't sleep because of the excitement, I did a little retail therapy and purchased some of my very own in the Raspberry, Orchid, and Black Plum colorways! I'm thinking some stripey socks are in my future.

Pattern Details:

Design:  Footsie  (Rav link)
Yarn:  Sweet Georgia Yarns in CashLuxe Fine (Botanical) and BFL Sock (Cypress)
Construction:  Worked from the toe up; The twisted stitch and cable panel is both charted and written row-by-row.
Sizes:  Foot Circumference: 7 ¼ (8, 8 ¾, 9 ½)" / 18.5 (20.5, 22, 24) cm, (unstretched)
Gauge:  36 sts and 52 rows = 4" / 10 cm in Stockinette in the round
Needles:  Size 1 (2.25 mm) circular, or size needed to obtain gauge.

You can purchase this design directly on Twist Collective's website by clicking here.

P.S. Can you feel fall in the air? I can!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Editing...or what I should have been doing on Sunday afternoon

I've been under a deadline the last couple of days...and not the fun kind. To clarify, the fun kind would be where I get to play with yarn and knit up a sample.  No, this is the kind of deadline I dread:  editing the written pattern for publication.

Now, people who know me in my everyday life know that I have the attention span of a squirrel on crack.  It's rare that I can focus on one thing for longer than a few minutes.  In my day job, this is a great trait, as for most of the day I have to be in several places at once, or at least my mind does.  But in my knitting life, this (self-diagnosed) ADD can be a real problem.

You see, just when I need to buckle down and edit 12 pages of charts and line-by-line instructions (gah, the horror!), I decide I want to organize my sock drawer. I mean, I can't possibly move on with my day until all my socks have found their mates, right? Right.  

It's also a struggle for me to edit because my computer has to be nearby, which means that I will inevitably wander off onto the internet and get distracted by anything and everything in my path.  And I do have a few good ol' tried and true sites that can always eat up half my day if I let them.  Let's take a look at my distracted afternoon, shall we?

Of course, I always start out with a little iTunes to keep me focused. I will neither confirm nor deny that I purchased the Dirty Dancing soundtrack to rock out to while I proofread. And, no, it did not help me have the time of my life.

Then of course I have to check the news (I use the term extremely loosely), because I can't go another minute without learning what Tori Spelling considers her best kept motherhood secret (nannies and lots of money) or what Angelina's kids eat for a snack (apparently crickets).  Oh, look, I also acquired a cup of tea along the way.
And then, to counteract all the brain cells I lost by consuming the drivel on UsWeekly, I take in a little NPR. But only for about two minutes before I get really depressed at the state of the world and move on.

Then, because all of the yarn in my stash will never be enough, I head over to ogle the deliciousness on my favorite yarn sites, starting with Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  Pictured here is my new favorite BMFA colorway, LL Cool Sock. I've already acquired two skeins of it and then also 1 skein of each of the solid colors that comprise the multi-colorway. Someday, when I have the time to devote, I WILL make the most colorful pair of kneesocks you've ever seen. Someday...
And then - surprise, surprise - I am drawn to Tanis Fiber Arts like a moth to a flame. I am so completely in love/obsessed with her colorways. I could buy one of each...and if I'm not careful, one of these nights of insomnia I just might be driven to that act of insanity pure genius.  I just love how she organizes her colorways. 
Oh look, I'm checking my work email. Something I do about a gazillion times a day, even when I'm not in my office.  Check out that clean inbox!  That's the result of years of hard work in cultivating an obsessive email ritual where I have to respond to/file/or categorize an email within the first 10 seconds of it reaching my inbox. Don't ask me why I do it...I really have no idea. I'm in therapy for it though.

Hmmm....I wonder what's going on on Ravelry....Am I the only one who compulsively checks out what their friends have favorited?  I find the best stuff that way. What can I say? My friends have great taste!
Oh, yes, back to editing...sigh.  Yeah yeah yeah. I know, it's got to be done.

So, there you have it. That was my minimally productive Sunday afternoon. What about you?  What are your favorite sites to visit to pass the time?  Do tell!

By the way, I DID get all of my editing done, thank you very much. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Pattern in Knitcircus Summer! And a GIVEAWAY!

The new Summer 2011 edition of Knitcircus went live today and I'm SO excited to have a design featured in it!

Meet Litha:

Litha is a midsummer festival centered around the summer solstice that celebrates the warmth, abundance, and light of the long summer days. Named for this festival, this slightly slouchy hat is worked from brim to crown.The simple eyelet lace and twisted stitch cable repeat lends a breezy and casual air to any summer wardrobe. The yarn used for this piece provides excellent stitch definition and shows off an amazing shade of blue, the exact color of the summer sky.

It was a last minute opportunity to be apart of this issue and I’m so glad I was able to do it. This was a hat I had whipped up for myself and planned to eventually self-publish but it turns out the universe had other plans for it! 

Pattern Details:

May 2011
Worsted / 10 ply (9 wpi) 
20 stitches and 27 rows = 4 inches in Pattern stitch (Eyelet and twisted st cable)
US 7 - 4.5 mm
200 - 300 yards (183 - 274 m)
Women's Medium (20-22" head circumference) and Women's Large (22-24" head circumference)

And now for the giveaway details:

Leave a comment on this post before midnight Alaska Time on Sunday May 8 and be entered into a drawing to win some awesome Knitcircus prizes!

There will be 2 winners....The first person drawn will win a year-long subscription to Knitcircus Magazine and the second person drawn will win a Summer 2011 Pattern Collection!

Please make sure you leave a way to contact you in the event that you are the lucky winner.  I'll notify the winners on Monday and the link to the subscription and pattern collection will come directly from Knitcircus.

Happy Knitting, everyone!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Knitcircus Summer 2011 - Sneak Peek!

Hey! Remember me?  No, I have not fallen off the face of the's just been a very stressful last few weeks working under an intense knitting deadline for an upcoming fall publication.  And I have literally dropped everything to get it done and that is why you have not heard a peep from me in almost a month!  But the deadline has passed, everything got accomplished (barely!), and I'm taking a bit of a knitting break for a few days to give my hands a rest.

BUT....I do have some very exciting news!  The Summer 2011 edition of Knitcircus will be going live on May 4th and I have a design featured in the magazine!

Here is a sneak peek of my design:

Stay tuned on Wednesday May 4th for a Knitcircus giveaway!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

1,000 stitches

So, lately I've been feeling really really overwhelmed and unfocused.  This is a normal feeling for this time of year, as things are getting more and more crazy at work as the tourist season draws ever closer.  However, things are compounded this year because I feel like I've bitten off way more than I can chew in my knitting world.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing.  The deadlines I'm working on are for really exciting things (that I can't share with you just yet!) and I wouldn't trade my involvement with them for anything. So, this huge pressure I'm feeling right now will turn into pride and satisfaction at some point in the future, but right now it's about ready to make my head explode.  I've got one design down and one more to go before I can relax a little bit...for at least a week or two anyway. ;)

It's just funny that the tables have turned and I'm now looking forward to going to my day job tomorrow as a respite from the knitting stress, when usually it's the other way around.

In the meantime, this is what it looks like on the couch beside me after a weekend of sitting in my knitting nook and knitting my little heart out.  (I'm too lazy to get my camera so all you get are iphone pics tonight.)

Empty snack bags, needles, DVDs, cell phone, yarn, pineapple lace book...these are the necessities of any good knitting weekend...

I've been trying to put in a little time on my pineapple lace project for the W's.   This is also weighing heavily on my brain right now, as I feel waaaaay behind on it and I should have been finished with it by now!  It's self-imposed stress, as there was never a deadline on this, but I really wanted to have it finished before the season starts, otherwise it would just get lost in the summer craziness.  

I think what was keeping me from working on it was the fact that I was at the stage where I would be picking up stitches all around the body and beginning to work the pineapple lace border.  This is what I've been looking forward to all along, when I would finally get to do something besides yo, k2tog, not to mention no more purling.  

Here is the massive mound of lacy stitches sitting on its familiar perch on my laptop. And a movie to keep me company...(I heart Jason Segel.)

Initially I thought it would be smooth sailing once I got to the border and that the body of the piece would be the bulk of the knitting work. I think somewhere in the back of my brain I must have known the horror that awaited, which is why it took me over a week to make myself do it.  But I knew that it had to be done, so I sat down this afternoon to begin the pickup process.  Three hours later - yes, three hours! - I finally had all the stitches picked up and evenly distributed on the circs.

And after it was all said and done, there were 1,000 stitches on my needles.  Yikes.

I then went to look at the pineapple border instructions....33 rounds total.  Any wind I had in my sails was completely gone at that point. That's 33,000 stitches that I have to go until I can bind off.  


It will be worth it in the end, right?  Right.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pineapple Progress

Even with all the spinning hysteria going on around here, I am still making progress on my Pineapple Lace project for the W’s.  I am a little over halfway through the body of the work and thought I would have more finished by now, but I got a bit sidetracked last week with a couple of submission deadlines.  I’m back on track now and hope to be to the pineapple lace border by this coming weekend!

In other news, I ate another 1/4 pound of the salted caramels yesterday.  What the hell is wrong with me?  Since Saturday, that’s a half pound total of butter, sugar, & heavy whipping cream all widening my ass as I type.  Ugh.
But I also started a new workout program today, which I’m hoping will kick start some weight loss. I’ve been doing cardio 4-6 days a week since late December, but haven’t seen the scales move much.  I’m feeling much better and much stronger (which is always good), but I’d really like to shed some of the lbs that keep hanging around.  
So, I’ll continue to keep you all updated with the progress on both the pineapple lace knitting AND weight loss fronts!  Just have to stay away from those damn caramels.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Design - Pennington Mittens!

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that this pattern finally gets to be out in the open!  I have had this design pretty much finished since October, but for some reason I just could not seem to find it in me to finish it.
Perhaps my reluctance to get it out there had something to do with the long road I took to finally fall in love with the finished product.  I knit and reknit the sample 3 times before I came to love the final version on the 4th try.
And now I can't get enough of them!
I only wish I had knit the sample in my size, because the small/medium version will definitely not fit my giant hands. :)

PatternPennington Mittens (KP IDP) (Ravelry link)
Suggested Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll or Stroll Tonal; 1 hank (both sizes)  Shown in Stroll Tonal Golden Glow
Suggested Needles:  US Size 1 (2.25 mm) circular (32” or long enough for Magic Loop), or size necessary to obtain gauge.  Pattern was written for Magic Loop. However, dpns may be substituted if you prefer.
Women’s Adult Small/Med: 4.25” in Width x 9” in Length from tip to cuff
Women’s Adult Large/XL:4.75” in Width by 10” in Length from tip to cuff
Gauge:  9.5 stitches and 15.5 rows = 1” in Stockinette in the round
Techniques Used:  Cables, Increasing, Toe-Up Construction, Judy’s Magic Cast-On, Bobbles, Magic Loop Method
Notions:  Tapestry needle, stitch markers (optional)

Special thanks as always to my beautiful friend, Trish, for being my model!  And also to Stephannie Tallent for being THE best tech editor ever. This pattern would never have seen the light of day without you.