Extravaganza Day Two

Today the E-Book Extravaganza is still going strong!

If you use the code “extraspecial” you can make your own e-book. Choose any 7 PicnicKnits patterns from the store, put ‘em in your cart, apply the code, and it’s only $18.95! That’s more than 50% off normal individual prices. And you my dear get an e-book that has exactly what you like!

It’s the second and final day to feature the Sideways Shawlettes e-book for 50% off! Use the coupon code “extra12″ to get this amazing deal!

Yesterday we looked at the first four patterns in the Sideways Shawlettes e-book. Today we will take a peak at the final four!

Cordelle is a cozy wrap worked up in one of those mongo skeins of Alpaca With A Twist’s Baby Twist. So soft and warm!

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Katara is worked sideways with short-row shaping in a perfect wintery ice blue.

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Renita is worked up in a red that is pure perfection from the Verdant Gryphon.

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And my very favorite of this bunch, Pettine uses one skein of Malabrigo Sock.

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So don’t miss your chance to get Sideways Shawlettes at 50% off! Today is the last day for that special deal!

E-Book Extravaganza Day One: Sideways Shawlettes

So I am kicking off an E-Book Extravaganza! And there are two ways to get in on it! You can choose the e-book of the day and get it for  half price (woot!) or you can make your e-book by choosing 7 PicnicKnits patterns from my store and get them all for only $18.95!

Today and tomorrow’s e-book of the day is Sideways Shawlettes – 8 sideways patterns for the half-off price of only $12.50!!! Use the coupon code “extra12” for that awesome deal!

To make your own e-book, put seven individual PicnicKnits patterns in your Ravelry cart, and apply the code “extraspecial” and the price will be only $18.95! Yes people, that is more than 50% off.

And are you familiar with all the pretties in the Sideways Shawlettes book? There are eight of them, and I’m featuring four of them today. Starting off with my very first (and most popular) sideways shawlette Gaenor.

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Like all of the projects, Gaenor is worked from tip to tip. It uses 430 yards of fingering weight merino/silk, but you can use any amount of yarn because it’s easy to transition from increasing to decreasing! By the way, this popular beauty has a slew of gorgeous finished objects on Ravelry.

Next up is Argante, which incorporates short-row shaping and a sweet rounded lace edging.

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Then we have Kyveli – still worked side to side, but with some fancy reversible lace stripes incorporated. Don’t worry – they are easier to work than they look!

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And the fourth featured pattern for today, Bakersfield. Another fan favorite, this one is a shallow wide shawl that uses just one skein of Colinette Jitterbug.

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So if you were going to make your own e-book, which patterns would you choose? I’ve got my favorites (naturally) but what are yours?

Pretty Cast On

I have a favorite cast-on. It’s kind of weird. Other folks have used it I’m sure, but it was an idea that I had that worked out really nicely. You cast-on over two needles (or one really big one) and then you immediately do a ton of double increases.

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When you work in stockinette stitch you get a nice little star cluster effect that runs all along the cast-on edge.

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It does however have a natural curve and tightness to it. Frequently knitters will worry that it’s too tight. It’s not! I promise. When you go to block the design it will block out into the perfect crescent edge, like you see in Longfellow below:

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Or in Lawsonia:

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You can even use it in garter stitch shawls like Jovia, although the cluster effect is not as pronounced.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jovia

 What’s your favorite cast-on?

Undereye Luggage

Yesterday was a very good day. Despite the fact that I didn’t get to chaperone my own kids, I got to spend the day with a wonderful family, and three other neat kids. It was kind of cool seeing Disney through younger girls’ eyes. I’m so used to the jaded teenage boy perspective!

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See those bags? That’s the problem – I am useless today. I am trying to supervise some catch-up work for both boys in their English classes. Language Arts? Not my forte! Three hours of sleep on Friday night, combined with a 4:30 am wakeup call on Saturday and not actually crawling back into my bed until 2:30 am on Sunday morning? This woman is feeling her age and isn’t very helpful!

I am actually making coffee right now and I rarely drink it at all anymore. But if I don’t I will be snoozing at the kitchen table while my boys play on their phones instead of do their English re-writes and notecards!

Knitting wise I’m still plugging along on the autumn colored lace piece. I’m finally deep into the lace edging, but it’s slow going. I also have some swatches that need finishing for another project so I’m trying to convince myself that short and sweet projects like swatches are the way to go. What’s on your needles on this sleepy Sunday?

No, I appreciate you!

One of my favorite things to do, especially when a Friday is acting like a Monday, is to look at my user activity on Ravelry. It’s this sweet little place where I can see what how folks on Ravelry interact with my patterns. I get to see queues and favorites and the things I love most – project pictures and finished objects. When I looked today, I was reminded that someone said this about my Longfellow pattern: “This is probably the prettiest thing I’ve ever knit, with the prettiest yarn I’ve ever used.’

It’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received.

So to share the love, I’ve got a little appreciation for you – my awesome customers! If you buy anything today or tomorrow, you can get a free pattern! Basically pick something you want from my store, and then choose a pattern you want for free. Add it all to your Ravelry cart – and then add the coupon code “appreciation”. It will take $6 (the going rate for my singles) right off your total! You could even make Longfellow one of your choices, one of the Seven Sonnets.

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Coupon code is good today and tomorrow, so get on it! And I’m happy to say that tomorrow will be nothing like a Monday because I get to spend my day at the happiest place on earth. My sons are altar servers at church and it’s Disney field trip day and I’m going along as a chaperone. Hopefully I’ll get to exert some chaperone muscle and ride my very favorite – the Haunted Mansion! What’s your favorite amusement park ride?

The Hard Part

I probably shouldn’t have said I would blog every day in October. I’m trying to get my writing mojo going again, but today is one of those days that I just don’t want to write anything down. But rather than be negative, I’m going to be positive. Yes, it’s a forced fake it ’til you make it kind of positive, but it’s better than being whiny.

Top Five Things I Love About My Knitting Design Career

1. Flexibility – If I want to work in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep, I can. If I want to take my knitting to the beach and stare at the waves while I work on a project I can.

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2. People – Most of my best friends are knitters. It’s so easy and effortless to make knitting and designer friends that it shouldn’t be legal. The love of yarn has brought me together with folks I would have never met otherwise and my life is infinitely better for it.

3. Accomplishment – There are so many big and little ways that knit design is gratifying to my spirit. I love it when things go just right on a project. I love it when folks like my work and even better – want to reproduce it!

4. Income – When I first started this business it was for fun money. Little bits here and there, maybe taking the family to dinner once in a while. Now (for better or for worse!) it’s a serious chunk of our family’s income, and helps to pay for the ever growing expenses of two teenage boys. But it’s so wonderful to make money doing something I love.

5. Challenges – I love that with knit design I can constantly challenge myself. How can I make the yarn do this? How can I make the shawl or the sweater hang just so? I love that with yarn there are so few limits, and that there’s always something new for me to try and do!

What are you favorite things about knitting? (Or knit design if that’s how you roll!) And yes, if my teenage sons saw that I used the phrase “how you roll” they would be mortified. But I figure that’s part of my job as a mom, am I right?

Fall

I really, really miss fall. I was just saying to myself the other day that I needed to plan a family road trip somewhere north where the leaves properly change color, and you can feel the crispness in the air. But then I realized that the next five years of my life include a high school football game every Friday night during the fall which kind of puts the kibosh on weekend trips. Today we’re getting a heavy soak. Which is bringing the temperature down but is not the fall experience I’m looking for!

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Of course I think the fact that those are pineapples growing on my back porch doesn’t to bring about a feeling of fall either. Also I was planning a trip to the beach tomorrow. Not a very fall-like activity. But I think the rain is going to persist.

I think I just need to do fall things inside. Decorate a bit, make soup and possibly something with pumpkin. Speaking of which, when did pumpkin become the end all be all of fall? I love all things pumpkin, but I think we’re going a little overboard.

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Ooh, that might be a good fall activity. Snuggle in with knitting and a blanket and a Lord of the Rings marathon. Yes, that is a stretch, and really has nothing to do with fall, but I don’t have much to work with here! Honestly I think I just need to design and cast-on for a cozy sweater!

But maybe you do need some knitting where you are to keep your lap warm. So to help in that regard I’m having a little fall BOGO sale. Buy one get one free on all e-books and patterns in my store.

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And if you’ve got some gorgeous fall foliage where you live, take a picture for me! I need to live vicariously through y’all!

Size Matters

One of the questions I get all the time about my shawlettes and shawls is “Can I make it bigger?”

And the answer is yes. It’s a conditional yes though. Sadly when you’re a grown up there are very few times you get a yes with no strings attached. So here’s the conditions to consider:

1. Do you *really* have enough yarn to make it bigger?

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I have had recent requests from some folks to make Sardinian bigger. But you have to consider that the knitted-on border for Sardinian takes about 10,000 stitches worth of yarn. So honestly for something like that you might have to have an entire extra skein of yarn if you made the body (and therefore the border) much bigger. So many of my designs are worked top down. Some of the two skeins projects will use one skein for the first say 60-80 rows and then the second skein for just the last 20-30 rows and a bind-off. See what I mean?

2. Are you comfortable with figuring things out a bit?

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Sometimes when you increase the size of more complex lace patterns you need to figure out how the lace transitions to the bind-off or border. Some of these transitions are easy. Let’s look at Montadale. You can keep working the body of the pattern, just making sure to end on rows 12, 28, or 44. And then you can work the edging rows. For the pattern as written you end on row 12,  and the first edging row begins and ends with a k1. If you end with row 28, you have to begin and end the first edging row with a k2tog. And if you end with row 44, you have to begin the rows with a k2tog and end the first edging rows with a k1.

Not super complicated, and if someone emails me to ask and it’s a quick question that I will happily answer for them. But if it requires some more fussing you might have to be able to figure it out yourself. Which some folks find super fun, and other folks not so much!

3. Do you *really* need to make it bigger?

Before Blocking

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After Blocking

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/charollais

Sometimes folks get nervous when they are knitting lace. It looks so small, so scrunched up, like the first picture of Charollais. Not pretty and drapey like the second picture of Charollais above. That my dear is the magic of blocking. If you really think you are making the tiniest most compact lace shawlette ever, do a swatch. Yes, swatch. Swatching is love and magic and puppies. (Not kittens because I am allergic.) Cast on a repeat of the lace, knit it up, and measure it. It’s tiny right?  Then soak it in warm water for 20 minutes and then pin it. Really stretch it. Open up the lace and pattern. Then measure it again. See what I mean? Blocking is even more magical than swatching. If you still don’t like the openness of your work, go up a needle size!

If you ever are working on one of my patterns and want to make it bigger and need some direction, shoot me an e-mail. If it’s a quick answer I’ll spell it out for you. If it needs some legwork I can give you some direction to get you going! But if you just want something nice and big to wrap up in I would recommend Cassian, Sardinian, or Natessa right off the bat. I’m a good sized girl and those shawls make even me feel delicate!

Pom Pom Quarterly

I got my contributor’s copy of Pom Pom Quarterly in the mail last week. The week before? I’m not sure. These back to school days are such a blur! I’m finally settling into a routine and am working on more balance in my work and home life. Sometimes it’s hard to squeeze in all the things that need to happen in a day!

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I gotta say I *love* that my name is right there on the cover. With other mags you only get your name on the cover if you did something special. But this has the names of all the contributors. It’s the perfect size for throwing in your knitting bag too, at a compact 6 1/2 x 9 inches. And with the nice heavy paper stock it’s printed on, it’s not gonna fall apart if you do!

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The hand-drawn schematics for all the patterns are super sweet. The one above is for my Morganite cardigan. There are little stories included for some of that patterns, inspiration and technique insights that are lovely to read. And it wraps up with some recipes and more stories.

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Squee! That’s mine again on the back cover! I’m really, really impressed with this magazine. It has a different feel and look than other publications and I’ve gotta say I am quite honored that I was allowed to be a part of it. Go check out the Pom Pom Quarterly site and all the other amazing issues they’ve put out!

The Seven Sheep

Strangely enough, even though I was born on the seventh day of the seventh month, I don’t consider seven my lucky number. But my e-books seems to like to come together in sets of seven. Seven Sonnets, Seven Songs, Sideways Shawlettes, and even the Baroque Blossoms collection. So when I thought of doing another set of seven I immediately thought of sheep. Seven Sheep! But would be there enough unique sheep breed names to cover all my pattern naming needs? Do a quick google search. Go ahead. I’ll wait.  For being so involved in the yarny world, I had no idea how many types of sheep there are in the world. It’s insane!

But for this collection I wanted to do a little something more. Something extra. And then it came to me in a mad rush. What better yarn for a collection called the Seven Sheep than Baah?!?!?!? I’ve been using Baah a lot lately and I love it. The colors, the squishiness. It just all fit. Seven Sheep all worked up in Baah yarn. It was like kismet!

But then I wanted a sheep. My very own cute little sheep to use for the cover of this e-book. The nice thing about being in this business is you get to know amazing talented people. Like Heather Zoppetti. She’s my wholesale distributor, she puts up with my crazy, AND she’s an accomplished graphic artist.

Look at this:

 

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Could it be any cuter? Well yes. We can fill it up with some Baah goodness.

 

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And this is the yarn for the first of the Seven Sheep.  Two skeins of La Jolla in in the Burmese Ruby colorway. The richest, truest, best blue-red I have ever seen. And I am a big red person. Red and turquoise have regular fisticuffs to see who is my favorite, but this red might push me over the edge in red’s favor!

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This gorgeous yarn will become Sardinian, the first of the Seven Sheep. It will be released May 25th and is currently only available for pre-order. You can pre-order the pattern for $4.50 or you can pre-order the entire collection for $16.95. The Seven Sheep will include seven shawl and shawlette patterns. Some of them will be one skein, some two-skein. At least one will be two-color – just wait til you see that one!  But all of them will be in my new favorite yarn – Baah!

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The same basic set-up for the e-book will apply. Shawls will be released once per month. I’ve set my release date as no later than the 25th of the month. This month’s will come out on 5/25 and June’s will be released on 6/21 to coincide with its debut at TNNA!

So head on over to Ravelry to pre-order Sardinian or to pre-order the entire Seven Sheep collection and come on this new adventure with me! The price of the full collection will go up to the standard $21.95 once the first pattern has been released, but is available until the 25th for $16.95. And head on over to the Baah! site to see where you can buy yarn for these projects. (Psst! If you’re local A Stitch In Time carries Baah!)

Sardinian is available for $4.50 USD for pre-order only

The Seven Sheep can be pre-ordered for $16.95 USD