Indy!

First off the site is a mess! I know! I had to move servers and some things got very wonky and I’ve been so swamped I haven’t had time to fix all the things.

Second, I know it’s been forever. Working on all these book projects is hard y’all. And I’ve had some crazy setbacks. And then every night like clockwork my family expects to be fed – what is up with that?

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In other news I’m leaving for Indiana on Thursday. I am going to be gone for nearly 2 weeks. First off it’s the Small Knits Symposium in Bloomington, Indiana. Then it’s Corrina and Heather’s excellent adventure in Indiana – basically we have about 3 days of in between time and what’s the use in me flying home and we will be working like fiends finishing up getting ready for TNNA. So yeah. Then it’s TNNA in Indianapolis where I will be exhibiting in booth 762.

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I have some beautiful new designs to release, but I still have to do all the extra stuff – having them tech edited, getting photographs, etc. Maybe I’ll take my camera to TNNA and try to snag some models! I do have some gorgeous designer friends you know!

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Hopefully while I’m in Indiana I will be able to release one or two of my new designs. I’ve got some gorgeous things I’m finishing up for the TNNA fashion show, so if you or your LYS owner will be there, tell them to keep a look out!

To celebrate being in Indy, I’m having an “indy” sale. Everything in my store is Buy One Get One Free – that includes e-books and individual patterns. The code of course is “indy” and if you have any suggestions for fabulous restaurants or places that Heather and I might visit during our short in between time let me know. We are hoping to hit lots of local yarn stores, but other than that we will be knitting and TNNA prepping!

So use the code “indy” for Buy One Get One Free (BOGO!) in my store and wish me safe travels!

 

Maribelle

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When it comes to ombre yarns like Twisted Fiber Arts, asymmetrical is the way to go, and the pretty Maribelle is done just that way! This shape makes the most of the beautiful color shifts without looking like giant stripes. The cables and eyelet lace pattern in this shawl give the wearer the best of both worlds – cozy and airy at the same time. The gorgeous colors in the Twisted Fiber Arts yarn deserve to be put on display, and this lovely wrap is a showpiece.

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Maribelle is worked asymmetrically from tip to side with the bottom edging knit simultaneously. The final edging is applied to bind-off the live stitches. This shawl can be made larger by working more repeats of the body section. Just make sure to start the applied edging on the appropriate row.

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I know it’s been too few and far between around here. The book work has has me hopping! I’m so excited about my first book, but it’s odd to be so far removed from self-publishing my patterns like I’m so used to!

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Needles: Size 8 needles (5.0 mm)

Yarn: Twisted Fiber Arts Tasty Evolutions (80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 530 yd [485 m]/4.9 ounces [140g]): haunting, 1 skein

Gauge: 16 stitches and 20 rows = 4 inches in blocked cable lace pattern

Size: Approximately 56″ wide and 24″ deep after blocking

Maribelle is available on Ravelry for $6.00 USD

Mad About Manos

It’s crazy busy around here at the house o’ PicnicKnits. Teenage boys seem to want to play all the sports, and the amount of miles I’ve been putting on my minivan is quite ridiculous. I’ve also spent a lot of quality time in that minivan with my audiobooks knitting all the projects for everything that is going on.

One brand of yarns that I’ve been using a ton of is Manos. So many gorgeous bases with such wonderful colors. Fino is their extra fine merino/silk base with 490 yards and a really lovely hand. My Sandalo shawl was published last summer and uses one skein of Fino in the Antique Lace colorway. It’s available from Manos for $6.00.

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I used Fino again for my Mallory Hills Shawlette – which was a part of my featured designer collection in the spring issue of Knitscene.  This time I used the Velvet Pincushion colorway for a sideways shawlette. Interweave is actually offering kits for the Mallory Hill Shawlette – and if you check out the info page you can read my Knitscene interview too. Robin Shroyer made me sound really interesting!

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My most recent release with Manos is my Trufa shawl. This uses their Serena base, a fabulous alpaca/cotton blend that has 170 yards per skein. Trufa is a crescent-shaped, top-down shawl that uses 2 skeins of Serena and is also available from the Manos site for $6.00.

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I also have a gorgeous pile of Serena in my bin of book yarn to work up into a super secret book project. The Serena base is just that nice.  I love being at that point in my career where I really get to choose what yarns I work with and Manos is a yarn I will choose again and again.

Maragon

I know, I know, it’s been awhile. Writing a book is very time consuming. Writing a book, managing two teenage boys in two different schools with all the activities, and navigating the holidays is nearly impossible! But I’m doing it! This morning I’m sitting here for an oil change and realizing that I’ve driven over 5000 miles in the last couple of months. Yeah. Driving time is not knitting time. Nor is it blogging time. But sitting in the dealership waiting for my oil change is decent blogging time. Because my wrists need a break from knitting. And so finally, I am blogging about my newest design Maragon.

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Maragon was featured at Sample It at the winter TNNA in San Diego. Sample It is the crazy madhouse where all the yarnstore owners come in and have a chance to purchase samples of all sorts of knitting and stitching things. It is packed with people and all the vendors bring all sorts of amazing thing. I was super honored that Anzula trusted me to come with something pretty in their new winter colors.

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Maragon is a top-down heart-shaped shawl worked in two new delicious colors of Anzula Cloud, Prudence and Temperance. With simple increases and slip stitch patterning it makes the most of the two skeins working up into a generous shawl. The color work is worked one color at a time but delivers a lovely punch.

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The sample as worked is 72” wide and 18” deep. Additional stripes of the color work can be done to use up all of the yarn and make a more generous shawl.

Needles: Size 5 needles (3.75 mm)

Yarn: Anzula Cloud – 1 skein each of Prudence and Temperance

Gauge: 18 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in blocked stockinette

Size: Approximately 72″ wide and 18″ deep after blocking

Maragon is available on Ravelry for $6.00

 

Going Back To Cali

I have an unreasonable love for LL Cool J. Like I actually enjoyed seeing him in that stupid Best Buy Christmas commercial. And I watched ‘Last Holiday’ the other day mostly for him.  My teenage sons are embarrassed by it. But you’ll forgive me if I quote him as I break my radio silence, won’t you?

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Did you know you can follow me on Instagram? Where I post amazing pics like the above!

Life has been good but full of all the things. I’m working on the book, and another new huge secret project, and I’m knitting so much I’ve been buying Ben Gay and KT Tape for my aching wrists and forearms. Teenage boys keep growing – in fact my 14 year old needed new uniform pants – again – because he had 2 inches of ankle showing after Christmas break.

I’m off for my 2nd trip to California come Thursday. This time it’s San Diego. Not sure how much I will see as the TNNA trade show is always very busy, but it will be fabulous to see my designing  and yarn friends in real life and working the show will be a break from all the knit design work I’ve been doing lately. Although of course I’m bringing projects with me!

In other news I am the featured designer in the spring issue of Knitscene. This was the hugest honor and I’m really proud of the spring collection that I put together with some of my very favorite yarns. I’m gonna do a blog post for each piece but you can see the patterns by going to my Ravelry page – here. There’s also an interview with me in the magazine – it’s always fascinating to me to see how I come across to folks. So much fun and such an honor!

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Hope your holidays were wonderful and that you didn’t work as much as I did! Watch this space for blog posts on each of my Spring Knitscene designs!

Give One Get One!

Today I am in full on Christmas gear. I have on jingle bell earrings, a Christmas tee with Santa Claus, and Christmas socks that are striped red, white, and green with silver sparkle. I had to work the ice cream sales at school. It was for the children. Don’t judge me.

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Psst! Did you know you can follow me on Instagram?
 

I am feeling much more spirit, although I am sad to say I still have not put up my tree. I am planning on rectifying this tonight. I don’t care what has to happen, tonight there will be tinsel! Fortunately the man has already decorated the mantel and we’ve been sporting Christmas lights on the front of the house for weeks.

But today I have a gift for you! Did you know you can send patterns as gifts? All you need is someone’s Ravelry name OR their e-mail address. See that nifty little “send as gift” option circled in red there on the right? You click that, put their info in, put in your own Happy Holidays message and you’re good to go! Easy peasy!

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And right now if you buy a gift for someone I will give a gift to you! It won’t happen automatically, but I will be checking every hour for gift purchases, and if you give a gift I will send you a coupon for $6.00 off your next PicnicKnits purchase. Which means a single pattern is FREE! How do you like them apples?

I’m calling it the GOGO sale. Give One Get One! I will be checking every waking hour (EST) to send out the coupon codes and will catch up on overnight purchases first thing in the morning. So go! Give! Get!

I think I found it!

My Christmas spirit that is! It was simple things really. Yesterday I think I put about 200 miles on my minivan. Seriously. So many trips back and forth to both of the boys’ schools. One had cross country, one had tutoring, one needed money dropped off so they could go to the basketball game, one needed dinner and a boy scout uniform… and so it goes. And I was so very grumpy.

Some of my extra trips were because my youngest son *really* wanted to stay up at his school to help wrap presents. These presents were for a needy family. I didn’t have time to stay and help because of all the running, but he really wanted to stay. Which worked on this hard ole heart not just a little bit. I felt kind of like the grinch, my heart started to grow a couple of sizes.

And then I dropped off dinner for a friend who had surgery (she’s all good thanks for asking) and her family was so grateful. And I think that’s when my heart really grew. Because I’m sitting here stressing about deadlines and finances and what to buy the boys and that’s not what it’s all about. At all.

So I think I’m going to sit my little family down this week and talk about what we can do for others for Christmas. Because when push comes to shove we have everything we need and a lot of things we want. It’s time to give back a little more. And keep this heart the size it’s supposed to be.

And so I share with you (yes again) my most favorite Christmas song. Hope you enjoy it!

December Denial

It is not December. It cannot be. I am not prepared in any way, shape, or form for it to be December. Christmas shopping? Bah! I don’t even have a list started yet! Project deadlines? Somehow I’m doing ok on those, but I did hire an army of sample knitters.

This whole short holiday season is not helping with my bah-humbuggery. I really got nothing. I watched this viral Drummer Boy video that they swore would get you in the spirit. Nothing. I haven’t listened to any of my favorite Christmas albums. Not a one.

I haven’t even put up my tree.

This is a big one. When I was a kid my mom liked to wait until very close to Christmas – sometimes the week before – to put up our Christmas tree. I hated it. And I swore when I was on my own that my tree would go up on the day after Thanksgiving no matter what.

And now it’s how many days past Thanksgiving? Yikes.

I’m trying to get in the spirit. I really am. But I have so much work to do that it’s difficult. Maybe I should just put those albums on and wait for them to work their magic.

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So what do you do to get in the holiday mood? I have kids (teenagers but kids just the same) so it’s not like I can take this grumpy mood and run with it and skip Christmas. I need some holiday cheer!

Small Biz Saturday

I never thought I would own my own business. When I first started designing it was really for yarn money. I had no idea that companies would give me yarn so I could make them pretty things. But as life changed, we started to realize that it was either build up this little business of mine or get a real job.

And I didn’t want a real job. I pick my boys up from school everyday. I go to every single one of their games and events. I’m here. I wasn’t able to be here when they were tiny and I regret that so much. But I knew I wanted a business where I called the shots. Where I got to own my time.

So now I have this business that sometimes wants to grow faster than I can manage. But I still have the option to make my own choices. And I still get to raise my boys the way I see fit. It’s a good thing. And it’s part of the whole small business thing. Where does small business money go? The same place paychecks go, but in a cut out the middle man kind of way. When you buy an e-book from me, I turn around and spend that money on groceries, or sports fees, or a third of a new pair of shoes. Seriously – the teenage boy shoe thing is insane. Every time I turn around their feet are bigger and their legs are longer. And you hear the jokes about the groceries, but my oldest plays footballs and weight lifts and he is constantly starving!

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Yeah, they are huge. Just for reference I’m 5’10″, so my youngest is only an inch shorter than me at 5’9. Last time I checked my oldest was 6’1″ – but he looks taller in that picture, doesn’t he? And they are only in 8th and 9th grade!!!

So instead of paying some insane executive salary and letting some of the money trickle down to the average Joe, you give money to me (and to other small business owners) and we use that money to live life. And I am so grateful for that. I love my job and my business and I love my family. And y’all make it possible for me to have the best of both worlds.

Small Business Saturday is just another day for me to be thankful in this season of gratitude.

So to say thank you I’m having some little weekend sales – e-books are 40% off with the coupon code “stay home” – because I think the Black Friday madness is just that – madness. Although I do heartily endorse going out today and shopping at your favorite small businesses!

And if individual patterns are your thing, you can do a Buy Two Get One Free deal – using the code “smallisgood“.

So do some shopping in the PicnicKnits Store!