Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yarn Along (#11)

Thanks to everyone who commented last week about my knitting setbacks.  I'm happy to say that I fixed the problem.  I've now got 2 matching button bands and all of the buttons sewn on properly!   No pictures yet, but the sweater fits my daughter and that's all that matters.



This week I'm knitting a scowl.  One of my friends designed this cowl last fall and has been wearing hers all over town.  I loved it so much that I'm finally making one for myself using a skein of Dream in Color Classy "Happy Forest" that I've had sitting in my stash for about a year.  I'm in love with this color and wanted just the right thing to show it off.

I'm still working at Pride and Prejudice.  I've got about 100 pages left.  I'm really enjoying the book now but just not finding much time to read.  I've been participating in the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog week, so I've spent most of my reading time on other people's blogs.

Thanks to Ginny at small things for hosting another Yarn Along.  And if you're reading this, please feel free to comment and leave a link to your Yarn Along post.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Maine Maple Sunday

from our very own trees...


And this year we made enough to cover more than 4 pancakes!  All the credit can go to my husband for both the syrup and the photo.

Friday, March 25, 2011

::this moment::

From soulemama
"{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."
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I'm thankful for an almost 70 degree day in March in Maine.  And that we made it almost an hour at the beach before the little one fell in the water and we needed to go home.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yarn Along (#10)

I really look forward to posting a Yarn Along every week.  This week, though...it just left me feeling inadequate.  I'm in between knitting projects right now and I feel a bit aimless.  I tried to crochet some squares this week that I've been admiring on Ravelry (wooleater and African flower hexagon), but that posed way more of a challenge than I was ready for.  The picture below is the first 2 rounds of the wooleater. 

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So instead I've had 2 knitting disappointments this week.

The first is that I accidentally put my 4 year old daughter's hand wash only sweater (that she loved) in the washing machine.  It felted up nice and thick, erasing all of the pretty lace that made up most of the body of the sweater.  It also shrank several inches lengthwise.  I'm hopeful that it will fit my 1 year old next fall so that it's not a complete waste.

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The second is that I decided to tackle sewing grosgrain ribbon onto the back of the button bands on this sweater.  Two nights ago, it took me just under 2 hours to finish one button band and I was pretty proud of myself.  The ribbon was on nice and straight, and none of the sewing showed through to the front of the sweater.  I worked on the second button band last night and when I had one side sewn on, I decided to line it up next to the other button band to make sure things were looking OK.  Well, I fiddled and shifted things around, but one button band is now almost 1" longer than the other!  And now that the ribbons are sewn on, there's no more stretching them to fit one another.  They don't stretch at all, ironically, which was the whole point of putting the ribbon on in the first place.

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I know it's not a knitting mistake because I knit the button bands as I knit the sweater, so they're the same length.  I think during the washing and blocking process, my daughters picked up the sweater one too many times ("Is it dry yet?  When will this thing be dry?  When can I try it on?") and it got stretched out.  So today, I'll undo the ribbon from one side, wet it, and reblock it to the proper length.  I'm trying not to get too frustrated and to see this as a lesson learned.  Always measure first!

I'm still reading Pride and Prejudice.  While I didn't like it much when I first started, I've now really grown to enjoy reading it.  And I'm constantly thankful that I no longer live in a time when women had no property rights and marriage was a necessity given their lack of economic rights.

What are you reading and knitting this week?  I'm definitely looking for some inspiration on both fronts.

Monday, March 21, 2011

the Lucia Hat pattern is finally ready!

lucia hat 1

One of the things that amazes me most about knitting for my kids is how much they enjoy what I make for them. I never expected that. And they have a strong sense of ownership about what I make for them. It may fit their sister, and their sister may wear it, but I made it for them, and them alone.

lucia hat 2

When I designed my first sweater, I named it the Lucia sweater, after my youngest daughter. I made the sample in her size and the name fit.

I went on to make a Lucia sweater for my middle daughter and she wore hers to school. Her teacher, who knits, said, "I see you're wearing the Lucia sweater." And my daughter's reply was, "It's not Lucia's sweater, it's mine." I wasn't there to hear this conversation, but her teacher told me and it makes me laugh.

So this hat that I'm releasing today is the Lucia hat, named because it features the same stitch pattern as the sweater. My middle daughter claimed the child sized hat I made, and I had to make one for Lucia too because Lucia loves hats.

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I hope you enjoy knitting the hat as much as I do. And I hope your kids love their hand knits as much as mine.

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lucia hat 3

lucia hat 4

Sunday, March 20, 2011

welcome spring!

Mark Twain:
It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

outtakes

We had a photo shoot today for my new pattern coming out Monday. It's always a treat when there are so many good pictures that it's hard to choose just 2 or 3 to represent the pattern. These are some of the outtakes.

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A huge thank you to Coastal Photo Design for taking the pictures.  I ♥ them.

Friday, March 18, 2011

::this moment::

From soulemama
"{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."
OK, 2 photos and some words, but not many.

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My 1 year old loves puddles.  There's nothing extraordinary about that.  Most 1 year olds do.  But I love the expression on her face when she's splashing in them.  I feel like a kid again when I wear rain boots.

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And slowly but surely our snow is melting away and spring is coming.

If you've stopped by, please share your moment in the comments.  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yarn Along (#9)

My reading has fallen by the wayside lately in favor of knitting.  But I'm not really knitting all the time.  Let's be honest, I've been playing way too much Fruit Ninja on our iPad.  Talk about addicting.  Who would think that slicing fruit with your finger on a screen would be so satisfying?

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This week I'm reading Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard and I'm knitting the Confection Baby Shrug by Tanya Wagner.  I skimmed the entire Custom Knits this weekend and found lots of beautiful sweater patterns and helpful information about customizing them.  (I've wanted to knit Ingenue for a while, and I fell in love with Tang while reading this weekend.)  I think this book is one I will return to a lot.

After spending a couple of weeks knitting the cabled sweater for my daughter and the hats for my new Lucia Hat pattern, it's so nice to follow someone else's pattern and not have to proof it as I go.  The Confection Baby Shrug is a quick and easy knit and I think it will go perfectly with my daughter's Easter dress.  In 2 nights I managed to knit the body of the shrug and now just have the two arms left.

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I'm using Knitpicks organic cotton and my stitch gauge is right on, but my row gauge is too big.  I'm just hoping that it shrinks up lengthwise a bit once I wash it.  I've read that it will, but I was too lazy to make a gauge swatch for myself.  So I'm crossing my fingers.

Thanks to Ginny at small things for hosting another Yarn Along.  I'd love to see what you're reading and knitting.

Monday, March 14, 2011

inspired Monday: in which we discuss Pi




::PART 1::
(this is the 1st of a 2 part post which I hope will help designers to calculate yardage requirements for hats)

I'm inspired this week by π (or pi or 3.14).  Today is 3/14, and I'm not the only one observing this quasi-holiday.  I had every intention of baking a lemon meringue pie for today, but our Girl Scout cookie order arrived and, well, we're swamped in treats.

Just last week, I had to google how to calculate the area of a circle, and I was reminded of the formula pi times radius squared.  I'm a complete math nerd and seeing the formula made me wonder how I ever forgot it because it's really so simple.

I wanted to know how to calculate the area of a circle because I was trying to estimate how many yards of yarn it would take to knit each size of the Lucia Hat pattern that I'm designing.

To do this, I need to start with two questions:
  1. How many square inches are there in the sample hat I knit?
  2. How many yards of yarn does it take to knit 1 square inch of the hat?

    To answer the 1st question, I need to use some geometry to turn my hat into simple shapes so that I can calculate the area—or square inches—of each shape.

So let's answer Question 1 first.

How many square inches are in my sample hat size?

Let's imagine that the hat, laying flat and 2-dimensional, is made up of rectangles and a circle.  (It's not perfect, but it's close enough for our purposes.)

rectangle
Area of a rectangle (square inches) = height x width.  

Area of circle (square inches) = 3.14 x radius x radius 

The circumference of the hat I knit was 14."5.  So if the hat were laying flat, the width would be 7.25", or half of the circumference.  The height of the rectangle is 4.1", which includes all of my knitting from the bottom of the hat up until I begin my decreases.  

The area of that rectangle is 7.25 x 4.1 or 29.725 square inches.  The bottom of the hat is essentially 2 rectangles, so I can double that figure to make 59.45 square inches.


radius copy

The top of the hat (the portion made up of all of the decrease rounds) is a circle.  The circle at the top of the hat has a radius of 2.6" (this is the distance from where the decreases began to the center of the hat).  So the area of the circle is 3.14 x 2.6 x 2.6, or 21.25 square inches.  

The total number of square inches in the hat are then 59.45 + 21.25 = 81 square inches (I rounded up).

Now let's answer Question 2: How many yards of yarn does it take to knit 1 square inch of the hat?

I first need to know how many yards it took me to knit this sample hat. The hat weighed 1 ounce. And the yarn I used is 250 yards per 4 ounces. So I set up a formula like this and solved for Y:

250 yards / 4 ounces =  Y yards / 1 ounce

250 x 1 = 4 x Y

250 ÷ 4 = Y

Y = 62.5

So a 1 ounce hat contains 63 yards of yarn.

How do you figure out how many yards of yarn are in each square inch? I know that it took 63 yards for me to knit the hat which is 81 square inches. So,

63 yards ÷ 81 square inches =  .77 yards per square inch.

In Part 2, which I'll next Monday, I'll show you how to take this information and estimate yardage requirements for each size of a hat you're designing.


I'd love to hear your comments on this post--is it helpful, confusing, or what?  Thanks!

Friday, March 11, 2011

{this moment}

From soulemama:
"{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yarn Along (#8)

Last week while at the library, I spotted a book on the shelf that looked familiar from someone's Yarn Along post last week. I borrowed the book and realized when I got home that Ginny (who hosts these Yarn Alongs) had been reading it with her children. My oldest child loves this book. She wakes up in the morning and the first thing she wants to do is read it. We're staying up late too, just to read more.

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This week I'm knitting a sample for my Lucia Hat pattern. I'm making this one for my daughters and I'm knitting with Becoming Art's "Neverland" colorway. I'm enjoying knitting with this yarn because of the beautiful shifts in color that happen every few stitches or so.

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I've made good progress on the sweater I was knitting last week but took a few days off to finish this hat. I've only got 1 1/2 sleeves left to go, and now that I'm done cabling, those are knitting up quickly.

What are you knitting and reading?

Monday, March 7, 2011

inspired Monday

I listened to an interesting podcast while knitting last week and, for the life of me, I can't remember its name. The podcast was about blogging and planning ahead. It got me thinking about something I could write about on a regular basis. One thing I'm interested in looking into is what inspires me, as a designer and knitter. I'd also like to hear what inspires you in your life.

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Today it's the weather. Since Saturday we've had spring-like weather. Temperatures in the 40's, grey skies, melting snow, rain. I've brought out my rain boots and think I can retire my winter boots.

But this afternoon things took a turn toward winter again. After being warm and rainy this morning, temperatures dropped and it started to snow. As I waited for my daughter at the bus stop, I watched the water running underneath the edges of the ice on the side of the road. It was so cold that I immediately wanted something warm and soft. I thought about this yarn.

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At about an hour before sundown tonight, the sky turned this color. It turned everything in the house a pale but glowing shade of pink.

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This Quince yarn has just the slightest touch of something in it that makes it neither cream nor pink. It exists in a place in between.

I wanted to immediately knit myself a warm chunky cowl. So I've sketched a design and now it sits in my notebook until I can work through some of the other projects I've got going on right now.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yarn Along (#7)

I missed last week's Yarn Along...and I had been doing so well the previous six weeks. My children were home last week for school vacation and it wasn't happening. I missed writing about what I was reading. I also really missed reading everyone else's blogs.

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So this week I'm reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I'm also embarrassed to say (since I have my Master's in Literature) that I have never before read anything by Jane Austen. I'm in love with the movie Sense and Sensibility, directed by Ang Lee. It's one of the few movies in my life that I've willingly watched more than once. I enjoyed the movie Pride and Prejudice. And generally I never like a movie as much as the novel on which it was based. So I figured that I'd love this novel. But my brain, at night when I read, is struggling to make sense of 19th century prose. I may just put this novel aside for a while and come back to it later when I'm less sleep deprived.

I got my Spring 2011 copy of Interweave Knits yesterday and have loved looking through that.

I'm knitting my daughter a sweater with Madelinetosh Vintage and this is by far one of the most lovely yarns I have ever knit with. My daughter wanted a sweater the color of the sky, and this color is named "Windowpane." The sweater is knitting up quickly and it's a design that I'm working on as I go. I swore that I'd never knit a cabled sweater, but ever since I learned how to cable without a cable needle, I'm sold on cables. I'm still not sure about what to do with the sleeves?, and do I make a hood or not?, and what about pockets?, but I'll come to those questions as I get there.

You can join Ginny's Yarn Along on her blog. Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your contribution because I love reading everyone else's.

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