Monday, September 28, 2009

A change for the better

Last week I wrote to all of the publications for which I have designed in the past, and confirmed that I will no longer be designing for print. I stopped submitting stuff a while ago, to see how it went, and now I know I will not be going back.

I have had a blast learning new techniques, and following other people's patterns. I'm getting more and more confident with my lace knitting, and now that I am choosing my own projects, I can knit what I want, when I want to - like my patch of garter stitch scarves a couple of weeks back.

Designing was interesting, and it was always a buzz to see my stuff in print, but working for magazines in that way is quite restrictive. You have to design what will sell in the mainstream, often using fibres and colours that have been chosen for you, and to a deadline. Then there's all the maths in the pattern-writing!

On the other hand, I've enjoyed putting patterns up here, and logging them into Ravelry, where I get instant feedback. I get so excited when someone favourites or queues one of my designs, and if one actually gets made, well - that makes my week!

I couldn't stop designing even if I wanted to. I get all kinds of ideas from the smallest of things. I've tried magazines, and it's been fascinating. But now I think I need a little more flexibility. There are lots of new projects in my head - so watch this space...

Monday, September 21, 2009


Elsinore Eliina - 30% done

This is actually an outdated photo - it shows the shawl as it was at around 30% done. It is now 58% done (row 147 completed, which makes 22,355 stitches in total).

I can't get over how quickly it's growing! As one of my friends said, things always seem to go quicker the second time you knit them, and of course I'm using a slightly bigger needle (5mm instead of 4.5mm).

I am now at the end of the variegated wool, and I have to wait for the plain, toning wool to be dyed. I need another 100g to complete the last few rows of the body, and the lace border.

The colours are actually brighter than they are in this photo. It's also difficult to see the shape, because it was taken mid-row (I'm using circs, working back and forth) - but I had to catch the Beamish Boy as he was passing, and ask him to take the shot before he got involved in something else!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Damned lies and statistics

Thanks to the shawl knitalong on the UK RAK group on Ravelry, I have started the shawl for Mum's Christmas present! By the time I had done half a dozen of the garter stitch scarves, I was just about ready for a sea of stocking stitch, which is handy, as that's what this shawl pattern starts with.

The beautiful green/blue/deep yellow wool is knitting up beautifully, as I would expect from a Yummy Yarn. If I remember, I must get the Beamish Boy to do a photo...

He's also done me a spiffy spreadsheet which shows, for each row, how many stitches I should have, how many stitches I have done in total so far, and what percentage of the way through the shawl I am. (I can't explain how to do one of these for yourself, because everything I once knew about Excel is now mush at the back of my brain, but the formulae will be quite simple.)

For example, I have just completed row 92. I have indeed got the correct number of stitches - 187 - and this means I have completed 8,934 stitches so far!

Sadly, it also means I have completed only 23%. Hmm. Maybe I was happier not knowing ;)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Slowly back to normal

After a couple of days in which I could not knit at all - aaagggghhhh! - I have spent the rest of the week recuperating and knitting endless garter stitch scarves.

I had promised some scarves to a charity that a friend works for, and they proved to be the exact thing I wanted to knit. There is something so calming about repetitive garter stitch, and it soothed me back to my usual self. I was just finishing the final one on Sunday when I felt myself start to feel positively about casting on my mother's Christmas shawl (I'm making her the same pattern as I used for my Raspberry Ruffles shawl, but in sea-greens and dull yellows - just beautiful yarn!).

It really gives me a boost to know that my bad turn has meant there will be six warm necks in Newcastle this winter :)

All six charity scarves