Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Arrived on Time

Greetings –
Your submission for Jane Austen Knits 2012 arrived safely at Interweave.  Thank you for sending it and have a wonderful day!

Best regards,


Saturday, January 28, 2012


Cathy gave me a copy of Jane Austen Knits.  I am a bit too large to wear most of the designs but would if I were smaller.  I designed a dress with leg 'o mutton sleeves to wear to my sister's first wedding lo those many many many years ago.   The way some of the garments in this issue are constructed is very intriguing to me.  I think I have leafed through the mag at least 5 times, always noticing my ad under New York stores.  All of a sudden a Call for Entries near the front popped out at me.  Now this magazine came out in November so I thought, well let me go look, but probably it's too late.

Amazingly, the deadline is for Tuesday, January 31, 2012.  I actually had a design in mind that I have always thought had an early victorian (1837+) feel so could also be late regency period (1795-1837).  Sure enough when looking on the internet at clothing for that time I saw items that were similar in scope to my design.

Now this was on Thursday afternoon, January 26. The package had to ship by today to make the deadline. Less than 2 days to get it all together - hmmmnnnn.   I was also on a self imposed deadline with my latest Knit Picks' sample.  It's a shawl that, of course, takes longer and longer to get through a row the larger the shawl gets so it is taking way longer than the shawlette version I made a few months ago and way longer than I estimated.  The plan was to be mailing that shawl out to them today.  Well that was the plan, but I neglected to factor in the blocking and finding someone to model so I could take some pics.

There was my dilemma.  Postpone completing the shawl to get a submission in to Jane Austen Knits or bag it?  I had to admit my own deadline on the shawl was not reasonable.  Once I faced that little fact, postponing its completion by 2-3 days didn't seem like too much.  

However I did need to make a nice sized swatch for the Jane Austen submission and make time to do that as well. PLUS - Putting together a submission package takes me at least a day, usually more like 2 but that comes from adding up bits and pieces done over a week or so.  I needed to gather and print good photos of the finished garment, put together a cover letter, an updated short designer info section, put the pattern into the format needed for whomever wants it (and that changes for each publisher), and write a compelling reason why my design fits into whatever category is being asked for.  Then it all needs to be collated into a neat readable good looking portfolio.

Parts went easily and well.  However then I found myself not getting much done. I realized this was because I felt rushed.  So I absconded to town to have lunch and knit with Cathy for an hour or so.  I knew the break would do me good but really had to talk myself out of being guilty.   After lunch at least a half hour was spent picking out the portfolio cover.  The last few entries seemed stuffed so I wanted something with a bit of space, yet compact and professional looking.  I think I have found the answer.  Its a hard cover report cover with a nice clippy thing inside for holding pages.  I put all my pages into sleeves and clipped them into the cover.  Oh and the cover is frosted so putting a pic of the completed project on the first page looks intriguing peeking through.

By 7 last night I had the swatch completed (only needed to frog it once) and then blocked for overnight drying. I loved how it looked this morning.  YES!

Writing the cover letter is always hard for me so it's left 'til last when nothing else can be done but that letter.  This morning it went faster than I feared so all the parts were ready to go, spell checked and all.  PayPal multi order shipping has a section for new orders so I used that to make out the shipping label and wha la.  All ready for pick up with the other packages going out today.

They are supposed to let me know by mid-late February.  This would set a record for Interweave but I am optimistic and ready to believe it might be by March or April.  I'll let you know.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nautilus Beret Completed

This hat does come out nice.  Jim loves it. 

The shell sequence is so pleasing to look at which is what got me into this 7 stitch turn turn turn thing in the first place.
Done. Finished. Not to be repeated.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Geographically Challenged

I was born in Brooklyn and lived there, in several neighborhoods, until I went upstate to college.  The last 2 neighborhoods were both near Mill Basin at the SE end of Flatbush Avenue (see A below) and I could see water from almost any nearby street and most of the time when were were on the Belt Parkway which goes along the edge of Brooklyn.   My cousins lived in Cedarhurst (near Lawrence) on Long Island.

The other day Jim made a statement about Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.  He said they were on the same landmass.  I adamantly said absolutely not because whenever we went to visit my cousins we went over at least one bridge meaning the Island was separate from Brooklyn.  I remember folks in boats floating and motoring by as we drove over them.

We then got out a map and I got egg cream on my face.

At Knit Knite last week, I related this story to the group.  Ruth, who grew up on the Island, responded like me in exactly the same words.
Carole got out her iPhone and looked up a Brooklyn map.  Sure enough the same result appeared.

Brooklyn, Queens and LI are on the same landmass!!!!  Yes, we did go over bridges as I can see there must be lots of them along the shoreline where streams come into the land from the bay and ocean. Sheesh.  How did I grow up in such ignorance and only now find this out?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chambered Nautilus Saga

Jim keeps me in EZ (Elizabeth Zimmerman) books.  She is my knitting heroine.  I used to be a slave to patterns but after reading a few of her articles and books I converted to believing in myself and my knitting abilities.  I would not be designing patterns today without her influence on my fibery life.
EZ essentially says that any pattern is changeable, none are set in heavy felt and therefore a knitter need not feel like the pattern has the last say.  This she calls 'unventing'.

I am now one of those knitters who finds a new pattern, exclaims over it, says wow all I have to do is follow this for a simple knit and then proceeds to change the stitch pattern, or the gauge or to short sleeves from long or none or from flat knitting to round or even to steeked.  It's fun and liberating.  Really, if you have never tried to do that give it a knit on something small and see what happens. It's not life threatening, so take a chance.

Back to the story--- For Christmas, Jim gifted me with Knit One Knit All, the latest EZ pattern book from SchoolHouse Press

from SchoolHouse Press
"One of Elizabeth Zimmermann's dreams was to publish a book of her garter stitch designs. Though she proffered the idea to her primary publisher, and though the idea floated around their office for years, ultimately the project was not undertaken. In one of the publisher's letters that seemed promising, Elizabeth had written an exclamation of joy in the margins, and it seems fitting to us to fulfill her wish for a garter stitch book.
As we looked through Elizabeth's designs, we found a wealth of material, much of it little known or unknown to knitters. Further, we were intrigued and excited by the unique construction of some of these "new" designs (equal to her classic baby surprise jacket). You will find sweaters, coats, jackets, and vests for adults and kids, baby garments, plus a wonderful array of small projects including sideways gloves and socks, several brimmed hats, an ingenius pattern for knitted clogs and more."
I love the book, although I really dislike the look of garter stitch in general.  The designs are creative and EZ' sense of spacial positioning is astounding to me.  I immediately went through the pages several times exclaiming over this or that idea.  The hat on the cover looked so inviting and Jim said he'd wear it.  He even handed me a skein of a cabled 4 ply yarn (2 plies of natural icelandic hoggett  with alpaca and 2 of natural blue face leicester with silk) which was not thick enough for this project (!!! he does spin thin, very very thin, approaching frog hair), but I went through my stash and found just the right color of Rowan Tweed to knit together with his handspun.  My stash runneth over.
As soon as possible I started on this hat, diligently following directions.  Oh did I say EZ does not require that?  Well, with her patterns, one does need to pay close attention, at least through the first pass as teh construction is often unusual. Plus her patterns are what we call 'pithy', meaning they assume that the knitter gets it or can figure out what is suggested.  Sometimes this leads to some very interesting odd looking items.  Such as this:
turning into this:

The hat has 8 parts and mostly 7 stitch rows.  Starts simply enough too. But when I read to pick up half an icord stitch, yet the icords have been 3 stitches, I stopped.  hmmmnnn maybe that was only suggestive? Did I read it wrong.  No, so plowed ahead thinking it would get easier to understand once I had done this part but it only got weirder to me.  AHA! hopped online to Ravelry where there is an extensive EZ following and many forums dedicated to her works.  Sure enough I found the thread on this book AND the first erratta listings.  Wouldn't you know that this hat is the most confusing to knitters of all the patterns so far?
There's a note in the pattern saying: Slip the first stitch of every row k'wise.
Now with icord one does not slip the first stitch on the next row, but knits it pulling the yarn tightly into the stitch.  However since this was a prominent note I did as told.  WRONG.  I was supposed to use my brain and k the first st of the next row after the icord slips.  See its pithy............ and not slavish.
I then printed out the new instructions which do say which rows to sl1 and which to k1. Then frogged the whole thing, all 44 little rows and started again. 
Start up is 44 rows, section a is 4 rows x 72 times, section b is 6 rows x 42 times, section c is 2 rows x 260 times (which I wrongly assumed was an error or might never have started this beret), section d is 6 rows x 26 times, section e is 12 rows only once thank God, section f is 6 rows x 26 times and then 2 of those rows another 15 times.  That's a lot of little 7 st rows.  Way more than I have real patience for but its for Jim so I am plugging away at it.  I am now in section c. I have not multiplied and added up the total number of little rows.  I am not that insane, yet.
 The two rows in c have been knit 200 times while listening to an audible romance for relief from boredom.  Its hard to gauge whether this will really fit Jim or not and if not...(no we won't go there).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another Surprise

What with all the getting ready and doing the holidays I just got around to actually looking through the newest Knit Picks catalog.   Unbeknownst to me, the powers that be at Knit Picks included one of my patterns, Wings On My Toes, from my IDP section on their website in the latest catalog, p31.  Actually Ruth showed it to me last week, but it took me another week to sit down and really look through the thing.

So exciting!!!!!!!
I love these socks and wear them int he cooler months whenever they are clean.  They are made from stroll sport weight machine washable yarn, cushy, soft and warm.  It could also be that I designed them with a dragonfly motif and that what was in my head came to fruition so well.  Whatever it is I am thrilled!!

As well as the cuff.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Surprise

I was describing at Knit Knite last Wedndesday how one year, in my youth, I realized that nothing changed at midnight 12/31 and so do not wait up for this artificial shift anymore.  As a child, I often stayed with my cousins on Long Island that day. Aunt Flora sent us out with kitchen utensils and pots banging the New Year in which I found a lot of fun.  I loved staying with them as they had a dog, Midnight, I could feed and love while there.

The local grands used to stay with us over New Year's eve but since they have grown to teen hood can now amuse themselves at home leaving Jim and I to be old fogies and go to bed at our usual times.  Jim about 10 and me about 11.

Ruth sent me a jacquie lawson card with fireworks at midnight.  Oh how I wished that might be but reluctantly admitted it was only virtual, maybe on July 4th, but not New Year's.    sigh.

I got really involved in the new beret I am working on and forgot the time. About 11:30 I went out to put the bunnies to bed and surprised a young raccoon.  Well I surprised me too.  I yelled at it to go away. I growled at it to go away.  It hesitantly climbed the post to the beam holding the deck roof, turned around and looked down at me.  I must admit he/she was very cute.  I let Basel out to be with me expecting him to bark but he was more curious than guard dog. hmmnnn  The buns were quite complacent, hanging out at the edge of their palace, even though I had expected them to be in hiding. None of the animals were acting like this was anything to worry about.  ODD

What to do.  I was carrying a glass of water to refill the buns dish so threw that up at the raccoon.  It shook off the water and tried to hide more in the rafter.  I yelled at it but did not get the results I was looking for.  Then I went to get Jim and ask him what to do, fearing he might shoot it as a solution.  It was full night so the coonie was not sick, just young and very tentative.  No growling or scare tactics on his part.

Last fall, Cole, our wonderful pet and house sitter, shot an enormous raccoon that had torn Gumdrop's nose by reaching into the palace.  I feared this might happen again even though this one is still smaller than the buns in size.

However Jim had already gone to bed and I didn't want to wake him since this wasn't an emergency, yet.

Meanwhile I gave the buns their night time string beans, refilled their oat/crunchy container, added night time hay and locked the palace as I always to to make them safe from marauders.  I do believe a raccoon qualifies as a marauder.  Coming to think that the raccoon would leave if Baz and I made ourselves scarce, we moved indoors, shut the dining room lights but not the porch one, and watched through the door to see what would happen. Eventually the raccoon did descend, walk around the railing for a while and slowly leave the porch.  whew

But even better were the unexpected fireworks sparkling up from somewhere on the far hill above the Danby Forest.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2012.