Friday, January 29, 2010

Chart B and Blocking

Okay, so Chart B made me slow down a bit.  I referred to the chart much more often.  Still, the lace pattern was pretty easy to memorize for each line.  I really liked that the S1K2P and the single purl stitches lined up neatly.  I used them for references all the way across.  If not for those, I probably would have placed a marker every 14 stitches so that I only screw up one repeat of the pattern.  As it was, when I was on the even rows I would count the 13 purls between each of the knits.  That was my double check that things hadn't gone awry on the row before.  The only issue I had with the chart was that (to my eye) line 13 is missing two sets of YO and decrease (one before the repeat line and one after).  So, I just added them to the copy I had printed out.  

This is for reference.  The shawl is dry still.

Jaspurr coming over to "help" Mommy and claim what is rightfully (in his little cat brain) his.

"Mom, what's so hard about this?  I'm bored."

I've given the shawl a quick wash in hot water and squeezed out the excess water.  I am threading the heavier and longer blocking wires through the YO's along the top straight edge.  These were the first and last stitches of each row.

Jaspurr has realized that his beloved is now a mass of wet yarn and wisely is helping by just observing.

I used two of the longer wires to fit across the top.

Stretch down at the center point.

Working from side to side, stretching out each of the points.

I've stretched the top from the middle outward and put a pin in after about every four YO's.

This is the second reference shot.  I did not move the pillow with game comtroller.  I block stuff in the boys' room because of the available floor space and the short industrial carpet.  The yellow thing under the shawl is a crib sheet for contrast as well as damage control.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chart A

Cruising along...

Chart A completed twice.


It must be good if Jaspurr wants it!

On to chart B...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Good Start

Here are the set up rows for the Twitter KAL.  The pattern is the Travelling Woman Shawl and can be found on Ravelry.  

This is after about half an hour.

This is ready for Chart A. Total knitting time about 3.5 hours.

A look at the central stitches.

Stretched a bit to show the yarn overs on either side of the center stitches.

On  to the Charts....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hand Spun Yarn Porn

I finally finished spinning and plying the additional 6 ounces of "Ruby" that I got from FiberMonster.  Today's post is the vital statistics and yarn porn.

6 ounces (6 - 1 oz batts)
yardage 696
2 ply
25 wpi

Spindle spun and plied

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A First Time for Everything

I have never participated in a KAL (knit-a-long) before.  I have had many opportunities.  I just never saw the point in knitting the same thing a bunch of other people were knitting just because a bunch of people were knitting it.  Of course, I also never knit with other knitters before until just recently.

I think part of my reluctance before was that I am not usually interested in knitting other people's patterns.  I tend to be a seat-of-the-pants knitter.  I buy every knitting magazine published.  I buy lots of books.  I check out every issue of Knitty on line.  I read a bunch of knitting blogs.  But I do these things for ideas.  Inspiration.

Ravelry has changed my perceptions quite a bit lately.  That and Twitter.  Until I started looking at all of the patterns available on Ravelry and following so many tallented desgners on Twitter I hadn't realized exactly who and what was available out there.

So, when @SpazzyYarn proposed a Twitter KAL I thought, "What the heck?".  A number of patterns were proposed and they all looked fine (except for February Lady only because I have already done that and don't want to take on a big project right now).  My preference was anything that either let me use one skein of sock yarn or some of my handspun.  Well, turns out the winning pattern is the Travelling Woman Shawl by Liz Abinante.

So, this morning I gathered up my Rare Gem (water) from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and after some digging found a size 6 turbo just hanging out.

I cast on 3 stitches, knit 6 rows, picked up 6 stitches along the side and cast on edge, and away we go...

So far, so good.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Potential & Possibilities

I started a little shop on Etsy (Knitted Things and Strings from the Fearlessknitter) a little less than 3 months ago.

The first group of things I put up for sale was knitted items. They ranged from a large, expensive circular lace shawl made from a yarn that is a blend of wool, silk, and silver

 to some simple hats and inexpensive cotton coasters.

The second set of things I put up for sale was hand dyed yarns. I am working on developing my own lines. I named my sock yarn "High Society" because hand knit socks make you feel like a million bucks.

 My personal color sense involves bright colors. I try to combine colors in unusual ways and the results usually make me smile. So, I call my superwash line "Celebrate Superwash" 

and my merino worsted weight "Creative Colors".

The third set of things was hand spun yarn. I have listed a variety of fibers and weights from lace to bulky and including angora and some sparkly accents.

When I started this venture I figured I would be mostly selling those knitted things and maybe a little yarn. The reality so far is very different. Of my seven sales so far, two have been finished items, five have been yarn I dyed, and so far no hand spun sales.

So I've been thinking about my potential customers. It turns out that I am attempting to sell to two very different groups of people at the same time. One group appreciates hand knit items but does not knit or crochet themselves. The second group is made up of people like me who knit, crochet, spin, weave, or felt--fiber crafting folks.

So, what to do? When I knit do I knit to sell? Knit to experiment with design, color, shape, texture, fiber, stitch, form, and construction? Knit for myself, family, and friends? Knit for the pure pleasure and joy of it?

What about my newest fiber love-spinning? The questions are pretty much the same as the knitting ones.

Then, there's the dying...

Turns out that even when I am dying my own stuff, I will still buy other people's yarns. But, the more I see and experience with color the more I want to do. As a knitter I love finding a color that makes me say, "Wow, I gotta have that". I will forever be going through the never ending cycle of adding to and then using from my beloved "Stash".

While we are all such individuals I think most of us fiber folks are more alike than we realize. So, I'm going to try to focus on what I love the most--COLOR. I want to create yarns that make people feel like "I just gotta have that color". I want to offer a product that is reasonably priced yet compensates me for my time, effort, and expertise.

So, I plan to talk to a local gift shop owner about some of the small hand knit items that I create every so often. I will continue to spin and will sell (or gift) what I don't persoanally use. But the main focus of my shop will be the hand painted yarn and as I improve with dying roving I may end up selling some of that too.

I'm gratified that people like the things I knit. But, rather than sell things, I want to sell potential and possibilities.

Friday, January 8, 2010

My ADD brain in the form of a list

I am a list-maker.  I don't make them constantly.  I should be making more of them because when I make them (and don't lose them) I get more accomplished.  I was thinking about this blog recently.  I am not usually one to talk about what I am knitting, photograph my works in progress, or dissect the various processes that are involved in creating knitted things.  I plan to do more of that when possible.  Sometimes that is not possible particularly if the thing in question is to turn into a pattern.

While thinking about this blog recently I made a list.  A list of some of the questions and topics that might make good blog posts.  The stuff on this list is in some cases a form of shorthand and in others it is more like a conversation with myself.  If you have anything you'd like to add to my list, any comments on any of this, or a particular topic that you would really like to see something on, please leave a comment.  I would love a push in some particular direction as to which topic to write about next.  

I have also thought about maybe doing some tutorials.  Is there a particular technique you would like to know more about?  I usually knit continental style but originally learned to "throw the yarn" (holding the yarn in the right hand).  I purl "right-handed" except when knitting socks or doing ribbing.  For those circumstances, I use the Norwegian Purl.  I have done a number of cast-ons and bind-offs, have made sweaters, vests, socks, shawls, rugs, scarves, hats, felted things, knit lace, entrelac, fair isle, colorwork, argyle socks, most of which has been of my own design.  As a result, I am becoming quite gifted at ripping and fixing as well.  I spin and ply my own yarn with drop spindles, and dye my own yarn too.  Anyway, if  you haven't seen it offered somewhere else, or need to see someone else do it, let me know.  It will give me something to do when I'm not spinning, dyeing, and knitting.

Here's the list of fiber things I have been pondering lately....

Technicalities of pattern software, how to use standard software to show innovative shapes

Test knitting, Anyone?

Favorite stitch patterns

Demos or resources

Things I've learned...
From books...
From the internet...
From people face-to-face...

The generosity of knitters and crafters

You know you shouldn't judge but you know you want to

Knitting on the fly/Design as you go

A love of ruffles and where did this come from?

Odd (new, daring, mis-begotten, wrong!, avant-garde, hot, hip, in) color combinations/designs/construction techniques

Vision and design vs technique and execution

Style, Project Runway, Mary Queen of shops, Launch My Line,  what's new on the newsstand, the TV, and in books

Sketches and concepts or finished designs

Ravelry, FB, Twitter, Etsy, and the blogs. Social Media, self promotion, self expression, giant time sucks and black holes

Shapes and garments that multi-task

Sets of things (clothes or items that go together, needles, lines of yarns, techniques)

Using yarns in different (unconventional/avant-garde/artistic/surprising) ways

Cleaning, De-stashing, De-cluttering, Organizing (again with the Ravelry)

Balancing work and family and why the line gets so blurry for me and people like me?

Balancing knitting for sales with knitting for family and friends and what about me?

Balancing designing knitted things, actually knitting things, and what about spinning and dyeing?

If I focus on dying and spinning does that mean I can knit for me again?

Determining actual costs of what I am doing. Is there profit potential in there somewhere?  BOokkeeping basics, inventory, etc.

Drawing a line in the sand (or the dirty carpet)

The shape of things to come. Sweater shapes, silhouettes, fashion trends, we've seen it all so what is retro now?

Holy crap! Someone likes my stuff! Are there enough people out there who feel the same way?

Selling to a retail outlet vs selling to the public directly. Etsy vs own web site? Which makes better business sense short term? Long term?

Transitioning from dying a couple of skeins at a time to doing a dozen or so in a batch.

Anti-etsy/anti-artist sentiment and what's that all about?

OOAK items pros/cons

Always on a learning curve in knitting, dying, blogging, spinning, selling, designing, marketing, computer programing, using latest technology and tools available.

Balancing parenting, marriage, exercise, work as knitter, dyer, photographer, blogger, seller, spinner, and TIME FOR ME!?