Sunday, June 20, 2010


Many of you know I have been designing and writing patterns for 4 years now.  I started with socks for Sock Hop and then added shawls, hats, a neckerchief and a tunic.  I truly love designing and writing the patterns, editing a bit less but love how it all comes together. Sometimes I start with one idea and by the end of the writing it has morphed into something quite different.  Each design is a delight to create and sometimes a puzzle as well.  My math background definitely comes in handy with sizing and stitch count.

In the back of my mind was the idea that I would like to submit some of these patterns to knitting magazines.  With tchemgrrl as my co designer we did write a wonderful tunic pattern and submitted it to  Knitty will not publish any design that has even been hinted at in a blog so you all have not heard of it.  Well, this pattern made it through several hoops but not the last jump.   Darn!    It has now been submitted to Knitter's Magazine so keep your fingers crossed.

Then I saw that Knit Picks was taking submissions for their Independent Designer Program.  The guidelines are about as long as Knitty's but are really not difficult to follow.  I took a deep breath and submitted 2 designs.  Within 3 weeks (way shorter than the 3 months from Knitty) I was told that one of the two was accepted.   Whooo eee outta sight!!!! Dance Dance Dance.

Next was to choose yarn and colors from the Knit Picks selections in concert with my Knit Picks Relationship Manager.  Then they sent me the yarn and I knit a sample.  Once that was done I sent in the pattern and the sample and some pics.  They don't always take the pics but this time they did.
Butterfly & Kisses Legwarmers were published in April.

I then submitted 2 hats and mittens, none of which were accepted.  However from my freelance illustration days way back when I know to persevere.  I also know that once something is accepted and a relationship begun, it gets easier and easier.   With this in mind I sent in the Linear Shawl which was accepted rather quickly.  I think timing and time of year may have something to do with what is taken but I don't have enough experience with KP yet to really know.

We went through the same routine of choosing yarn, colors, receiving the yarn and knitting the sample.  Then I took pics, sent in the sample, the contract and the pattern.  This time they did not like the pics so there was a delay while they took professional ones.  The wait was well worth it don't you think?

Did I mention that they send me an advance on royalties for each pattern?  All IDP patterns are sold on their site for $1.99 and are only available by download.  However I am credited with the entire $1.99, get free yarn to knit the sample with and get the sample returned to me once the pattern has gone live.  Major WIN/WIN here.

After the Linear Shawl I submitted a shoulder cowl and some socks.  Sorry no, BUT the next two designs were a YES!

I am currently knitting on toe up Sea Shell socks in a watery colored Risatta.   They should be up on the site within 2 weeks.  This is such fun!!

After that will be cuff down Berry Pie socks with a blueberry filling.

I'll let you know as each appears.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hotel California

Not only is California on the opposite coast from where I live but I think it is opposite in many other ways too.  The first thing I noticed was the color change from green to straw, then from cloudy to clear, then the amount of traffic on the roads and the amount of lanes of traffic.  Another prominent item is the windmills strung along the crests of the hills.  Doesn't seem to be bothering environmentalists or birds in CA.

I came mostly for my grandson's graduation from High School but also to visit with all the Lents and their e x t e n d e d family.  My ex is now on his third wife (I am #1) and all 3 of us were to spend quite a bit of time together. It could have been quite odd but really wasn't.  We each have such different personalities and I, certainly, have gone on with my life.  My son Matt was created with husband #1 (Bob) so we still have that wonderful person in common.  I discovered we also have playing in Photoshop in common as well.  With wife #2, Margrit was created 10 years after Matt.  Both Margrit and her Mom, Marianne, stayed at a nearby hotel so spent most of a few days with us as well.

I arrived Wednesday evening giving me some time to sit with Matt, Liz and the kids and get my clock a bit reset to 3 hours earlier on Thursday.  Thursday was also the last day of school in Livermore so Liz and I spent time at Andrew's 2nd grade party.

We then took Alicia and Bryan out for Thai lunch while Andrew went off to a park with a friend (he had already eaten pizza at his school).  It was fun for me to sit with my almost grown-up grands instead of being on the phone and imagining them.

On Friday Liz and I went to the party store and purchased balloons and yard signs for Bryan while Matt went over to the football field and duck taped 3 blankets to some seats to save us some space.  He was far from the first to do that. We then met Marianne, Margrit, Bob, Bryan, Alicia, Andrew, Andy (Liz' father) and 2 of Bryan's friends at a local Tacqueria.

 Late afternoon brought in even more family for the big event.

The school kept it short and to the point so the 15 of us were only out there for 1.5 hours. Afterwards we went out for pizza.  Are you noticing an international food theme yet?

Saturday we hosted an open house with locally made sausages and salads around the pool in Bryan's honor. Lots of kids and adults playing on the slide and jumping from the cliff above the pool.
When my son first put in this creation I sent him a metal sign saying:
"Matt's Wet Dream and Theme Park"
It hangs on a post near the pool.

Sunday was relatively quiet with an outing to a local American restaurant for brunch and then picking out a car for Alicia, ending with dinner at Fondue celebrating her birthday a night early.

Early Monday we traded the grad lawn signs for Sweet 16 ones and hung a few sparklies around the house.  Then Liz and I put clues around the neighborhood while Matt moved the new to Alicia car into its to-be-found position.  Bryan drove her around from one clue to Find the Car.

The cami Jim and I spun and I knit fits her perfectly and is just the right color and feel.

On Tuesday Bryan took off for San Diego with some friends, Alicia to Mendocino for a few days of beach with some friends and Liz to work so Matt suggested we go to the Delta and play on the boat.

Windmills really abound north east of Livermore and as the land became flatter in the Delta the farms had more and more lines of them.  There was a For Sale sign near one saying 405 acre wind farm.

The California Delta is extensive with a long history including gold being discovered along its waterways.  Nowadays it is mostly used for recreation, irrigation and as a bird refuge.  We saw many birds including Great Blue Herons, geese, ducks, pigeons, seagulls and several I could not identify.  Its a beautiful area.  Matt and Andrew like to zoom through the channels where wakes are allowed.  For CA the temps were cool, low 70's and very windy, but for this easterner they were just right.  
That's the latest Knit Picks sample sock enjoying the ride.
Oh and we went out for Greek food for dinner Tuesday evening.

Time to come home and get back to reality.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Time Out of Time

We left Ithaca by car about 8:30 am with completely overcast skies and temps in the 50's.  Syracuse wasn't much better and by the time the plane landed in NYC it was raining and only 54 degrees.  One of the things I like best about flying over the country is watching the landscape change.  However with such cloudy skies and the pilot trying his best to avoid turbulence I didn't see much down below until we passed over the Mississippi River.
  The guy sitting next to me hadn't see that river at this point in the country before so it was nice to be able to show an experienced flyer something new.  But the cloud cover was still too much for a good photo.

Once we got to Kansas the air beneath us was better so the quilted landscape could finally be seen.

Traveling for 6 hours above it all does seem like time is standing still or the equivalent of a snow day. It isn't but it feels like my world is at least on hiatus, especially with the no electronics sign on so often. Knitting, reading, stretching my legs, stretching my body while waiting to pee, napping, chatting with my row mates.  Pleasant, uneventful and relaxing but eventually long.
Not much past Kansas the landscape changes drastically.

Look under the clouds.  That's snow on the peaks in western Colorado.

The guy on the end was from England but has lived here a number of years.  His politics were about 180 degrees from mine and the guy next to me.   The guy next to me kept trying to explain to him about corporate morality.  (My son says that's an oxymoron.)  It was a losing proposition.   I was relieved when we finally we got to California.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ta Da!

This vest should be called Express rather than the boring title of Vogue Vest #18.  It was completed in 2, repeat TWO days.  I used close to 300 yards of each yarn rather than the predicted 200 but other than that and my own version of the crocheted edging it was a snap and a delight to do, even during getting ready for the California trip.

But I am not skinny, ..................yet.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Progress or Not

When last you heard from our heroine she was madly trying to complete too many things and deciding which items to place into her suitcase and which clothing to leave home.
Today she can proudly announce the following checks on her list.

√ cami blocked in plastic wrapping with extra yarn and needles ready to be placed into the suitcase.
√ one sock completed
√ singles done and ready for plying for Presto Chango
~√ only one more batch of dyeing to do before take off

Still to be done:
--- practice spinning cashmere on Spin’n Ride so she doesn’t look like an idiot amateur trying to spin it in public.
---when the needles get here on Monday, remember to put them into the Sea Shell sock bag
---send out a newsletter announcing the Open House June 26 & 27  Oh and dyeing workshop signups & other info is here or else call.
---finish deciding which projects go into her carry on bag.

However she has this little problem........ Susan tends to fill up open spaces in her schedules. It might be left over from teaching. Maybe, but it's like a compulsion.

So the other day I bought myself the Spring/summer issue of Vogue Knitting.  I love that magazine.  The designs and layouts are usually over the top.  It's such fun to think about how they thought up the locales and the backgrounds and the costumes under and around the knitted garments.   Sometimes I do wonder just who wears those things.  Certainly not I.  The current issue has a Gatsby look.  The models are photographed so they looked even taller and slimmer than usual. I love losing myself in the page, looking at details, thinking about somebody's high life in the Hamptons or Newport in another age.

 There I was sipping my iced coffee when I turned the page and saw a vest.  I love vests.  I knit too many of them but they are usually winter weight items.  Here was something very airy that looked like it would be a quick knit.  I only have a denim vest for spring and nothing for summer.  I want a summer weight vest.  I don't want to buy one.  uh.  oh.   BIG.  TIME.

Before I knew it I was walking into our LYS looking for cotton yarn. Sometimes its a nice change for me to use a commercially prepared yarn.  There I found some nice bamboo cotton blends in bulky but nothing in the right color. sigh... I did wind up purchasing some Rowan Summer Tweed (cotton/silk noil) in a nice plum with black flecks but once I got home and made the swatch not only was the yarn sticky to work with but the gauge was too off to be easily accommodated. I know better than to work with silk noil.  It is always ucky to me.  OK that's a sign, right?  Cut this out.  Susan you have plenty to do before Wednesday without taking on another project.  I did allow myself to drool over look at his pattern on Ravelry where the folks who have made this already say it is really fast, retro and a hoot to boot.  Size 15 needles too.

Then yesterday I went to AC Moore to find a pair of round ended folding scissors to take with me.  I looked and looked with no success but did find some ultra soft Lion Brand organic cotton.  Lion Brand has some nice yarn hidden in its line up.  All of a sudden 3 skeins in almond and 3 balls of Sugar 'n Cream cotton in striping blue were in my arms.

 uh oh big time.

I made myself finish spinning the panda and then, as a reward, allowed myself to do a swatch, 
only a swatch.  

Somehow this morning this much of the vest was already done.
Do you think I will be that skinny when I model mine?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Will there be room?

I leave for CA next Wednesday morning.  I am going to see my handsome dimpled grandson graduate from High School, celebrate the occasion and be there for my granddaughter Alicia's 16th birthday.  There will be a lot of family around so I may or may not get much knitting done.  It really won't matter as I have such a good time on these visits.

 Yesterday it dawned on me that I ought to start getting my act together, at least my knitting act.  I am flying from Syracuse to JFK to Oakland and then a week later reversing it all.  It's a long day of travel what with leaving here about 8am, driving to Syracuse, going through the security, etc.  Then an hour's flight to the Jet Blue terminal in NY where I have almost 2 hours to play around and make a choice about my carry-on food and get tired of hauling the laptop around before the almost 6 hour flight across the country.  Coming back there is almost a 4 hour layover in JFK after the Red Eye lands.  Lots of knitting and computer time methinks.

I have my Spin'n Ride ready with cashmere in the bag as a spinning treat.  Lots of folks have told me that spindles go through Security with no problems so this will be delightful to play with.

Then I have choices, lots of choices.
THREE pairs of socks;
On the left one sock is ready to have its gussets eaten up and its heel turned while the other awaits gussets.  On the right one sock is about an inch from completion but the other has a far way to go.

Then I have the pair to knit for Knit Picks and that one needs to have some priority over the others.
  Also yesterday I figured out that I have too many UFO's on #1 24" circs. I tried using dpns but quickly remembered why I have switched to 2 circs for socks so I went sheep wild and ordered some more from Knit Picks at a ridiculous shipping cost to get them here by Tuesday.

Meanwhile I still need to spin the yarn for my half of Azizza's baby gift.  She is about to hatch her THIRD set of twins.  The first set is 2 girls, the second 2 boys and this pair is one of each.  Sharon and I decided to spin and knit the Presto Chango pattern from Panda, one sweater each.  She chose Butterfly Bush and I chose Clematis Vine.

We really like that the drooled on front can be washed separately from the sweater.  Since Sharon has hers done I think I'd like to catch up.

A rectangular shawl with mitered ends is on the drawing board, just.  Only the chart for one end is done so far and I don't know if I will have time to finish it to take along although I think following a chart on a long plane ride sounds ideal.

I am also trying to separate the knitting/spinning into 2 groups; one will be something that needs concentration and the other can be social knitting.  The Presto Chango is social.  Once I turn some heels the first two pairs of socks are social.  On the Sea Shell sock most of the foot/instep is social once the correct number of stitches are reached.  Of course, how much I can fit into my carry on is another consideration but Jim did wonder if I would have any room left in my suitcase for clothing.

Oh and Alicia's cami is now being blocked.  Once she tries it on then I can either do the bottom trim and hem or else add or subtract some length and then do the bottom trim and hem.  Either way this item definitely goes into the suitcase.