Monday, November 30, 2009

Yarn 365 Is A Month Old!

2009 [031]

That's the most recent yarn photo which looks way better on the Yarn 365 Blog. I want to thank Illanna for helping me out with the project the week I was in London. I think the photos I've been taking of yarn have gotten better recently because of the constant practice. Hopefully that will be helpful with regards to other aspects of photography.

If anyone else is interested in photography like I am, I just found this awesome group on Ravelry: Yarnographers. They have photo assignments every now and again, and I might be taking part in some of them to keep myself challenged while doing the Yarn365 project

Oh, and just one other thing: I'm loving that the yarnharlot's 365 calendar that Beth gave me last year for Christmas has a note for a Nonknitter Who Loves a Knitter up today. I know it's recycled from a book, but it's the most thoughtful thing ever. Also, since it's written like a note, it's perfect to leave lying around *someone's* house. You could even make copies of it and leave it lying around multiple houses! :-o

I'm noticing that there are a ton of 2010 kntiting/yarny calendars out there. I might have to review them at some point.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Think It's Time

Firstly, I didn't realize when I started writing this post that it was going to be so critical. Even so, I'm still going to post it because I think these things need to be thought through more. I understand that there were several different issues going out this season (another sore spot), but Interweave Knits' track record has made me expect more from them.

Yes, it's time to say goodbye to Interweave Knits. I've stuck by them for the past four years. They were the first knitting magazine subscription I've had (actually, so far, the only). Remember that summer issue one year that had all those winter sweaters and hats in it? I subscribed to it. Remember the old style with the patterns following right after the main images? I was there for that. Remember when Eunny took over? I was there for that too. Now, I know I'm not anything close to a "long-time subscriber," but I've been around for the most recent changes, and I've believed in a good many of them as they seemed to be logical.

Some of the most current changes, also seem to be logical. I find one especially confusing. But here's my list of what critiques for the Winter issue:

  • If you're an editor for a magazine that makes such an intense stylistic change, freaking announce it in your letter to your subscribers
  • There's no need for 2 mastheads. I really don't think that the company information needs to be in the magazine, and we're crafters. For crying out loud, we know what other magazines you do! If not, we can always hop on the google.
  • That brings me to another point: stop being so pushy. We get it. We know you have an online thing. We know you want subscribers to both of these different places, but geez, there's no need to advertise it 13 times (I counted the ads, ad that's not even counting the blow in cards).
  • The articles seem to be a little out of date. Also, wasn't there an article about Cowichan sweaters earlier this year? Why is there another one? If there's an article about a sweater style, I feel like there should be a pattern describing that sweater style. But there's no Modern Cowichan sweater in the magazine...
  • Artist Spotlight: I don't want to discount the work that Mark Newport has done. I actually think it's really cool. I feel like this article is redundant considering they profiled him in 2005, and I think there have to be other knit artists out there to profile that we haven't seen before.
  • The knitting needles on the top left corner of every page are throwing me for a loop. They make me think I marked the page for some reason.
  • mtfyed?! When did that become an acronym? Aren't acronyms capitalized? Also, sorry for not adding this to the advertisement piece, because it doesn't really try to give you inspiration to make time for yarn every day. It just points you to one of their Knitting Daily TV episodes (heavy handed much?).
  • It seems like they made a compromise with their style and what their readers wanted, and they put the patterns after the editorial sections in the magazine. While this is a valiant effort, really, it's quite confusing.
  • That hat on p. 51: I can barely tell what the cable is, and it's pretty small. Why wasn't it just put on the model who's rummaging through her purse for something? Then you might have been able to see it.

So, if it were just this issue, I'd say fine. Leave it at that, and maybe continue subscribing. But it's not just that stuff. The major one of those reasons I'm discontinuing is the pushy bit. You may be thinking "but in this economic climate, you can't be too pushy as a business..." I totally disagree with that. I do think that you have to be more aware of things, and certainly, you have to have an online presence as a magazine in this day in age and a way for folks to digitally get your patterns. But there's nothing out there that says you need to club your consumers with a 2x4. While we're at it...normally, if someone subscribes to a magazine they get every issue. That's the point of subscribing to the magazine. While I'm glad that I didn't get the Accessories edition of IK (it was all re-runs from other issues!), I still kinda think it should be something they at least give you an option of adding to your subscription.

The third main reason is that after having read Yarn Forward from the UK and even Vogue Knitting, I feel like I get an idea as to where the knitting events are taking place, what kinds of notions are newish, and more of a who's who of today's knitting world than IK has been providing me with over the past 8 issues.

I used to really look forward to getting IK because the articles and profiles were really cool and awesome and the patterns were stunning and things I wanted to knit. There were maybe 2 patterns in this issue I wanted to knit, and nothing I felt the need to cast on for right away. I wasn't excited to get this issue. And I don't think I have been for quite a while. There's a lot of competition out there, though. And it's not the only fish in the sea. I still love you, IK. I'm just not in love with you. :(

Friday, November 27, 2009

Glass Needles!

OMG. I LOVE the glass needles I bought at Yarn Diva & More a couple of weeks ago. They're not only beautiful, but also they're quite pointy and slippery and, to me, the perfect needles. The Yarn Diva gets her needles from Michael & Sheila Ernst. But look what happened:

My needle broke! I was on the couch lying on my back talking to Stan on the phone and went to roll over to grab something from the coffee table and I heard it snap! :( They were my favoritest needles!

But not to worry, I emailed with Michael and Sheila Ernst. They have a warranty on their needles and will fix them for just the shipping costs! I'm so excited, I can't wait to get them in the mail on Monday!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting Warmer

So, I found my cowl. It was in my hooping bag from last week!

I still want to make another one with the Scrumptious yarn (no really, that's the name of it, it's made by a company called Fiberspates) I picked up in London.

Scrumptious by Fiberspates

Getting Chilly

I'm wearing grey pants and a white shirt today. My black, purple and kahki scarf wasn't going to look right today. So I decided I'd wear the cowl I knit last year.

Feather and fan Cowl

But I totally can't find it. it wasn't anywhere in my apartment I'd think to put it. There's only one pile of clothes it might still be in, but I'm not hopeful. This kinda bums me out because it was the softest thing ever. And also is somewhat annoying as now I totally have to knit a new cowl pronto while I'm in the middle of Christmas knitting. :( Hopefully I'll whip this one Christmas project out during Thanksgiving so I can just quickly knit a cowl before getting back to the other Christmas project I've got to finish before the big day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The past couple of weeks have been somewhat of a whirlwind.

Travelin Yarn

It started with a work trip to London last week. I was there for the better part of a week, but I did get a bit of time to go wandering. I walked from my company's offices on The Strand (practically on the River Thames) to Liberty. I was totally blown away by the exterior of the store:

Liberty from Carnaby Street

And the interior was just as amazing. There were gorgeous scarves, beautiful wood architecture, some amazing Christmas displays, soft Rowan yarns and beautifully printed fabrics. I managed to score 2 meters of these fabrics:

Souvenir Fabric from Liberty

I gave the one with the stars to Illanna.

After I spent too much money in Liberty, I wandered on over to I Knit London for their Thursday night Knit night. They were all so friendly there and the yarns at the store were all so beautiful! There were even a couple of people there that were good enough to tell me if a yarn I was looking at wasn't available in the states! It was the kind of knitting group that I wished I could knit with all the time actually.

As soon as I got back to the states, I headed on over to Illanna's place. We had organized a weekend of sewing together. I passed out super early on Friday, but ended up waking up rather early on Sunday. We sewed the pajama pants from Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing. After breakfast we traced the pattern pieces out and then traced them onto the fabric. We took a break and wandered over to Yarn Diva & More.

Now, if you've never been to Yarn Diva, let me describe it to you (because I'm too shy to ask to take photos of a yarn store from the inside): it's pink with floor to ceiling yarns. They've got EVERY yarn imaginable from Patons to Berocco to Malabrigo, Handmaiden and Blue Heron. Amazing colors and notions and it's kinda the bee's knees. I ended up getting a new tape measure there (my old one is starting to rip actually!), an amazing button, and a pair of amazing glass needles that I absolutely love knitting with:

Glass Needles

The stitches just fly off the needles and I can't wait to find another excuse to knit on size 5 needles!

We came back from the yarn store, cut the fabric out, and started sewing. We even managed to finish relatively early that evening (maybe around 8?)! I'm still so shocked I haven't managed to snap a photo of the pj pants yet. I love wearing them, they're super comfortable, but next time I think I'm going to put a draw string into them as well. The elastic is great, but it's too loose around my waist. However, if it were tighter it wouldn't fit over my hips and would make getting them on rather a pain.

The next day, we wandered over to south jersey to WoodsEdge Wools Farm. They have over 300 Alpacas and Llamas. Someone from the farm was nice enough to explain the differences between the Alpacas and the Llamas to us. The Alpacas, she told us are more like cats in that they're not really that friendly to people they don't know, and they won't really come when you call them. I still think they're really cute. A Suri Llama named Firefly (I think that was the name anyway) was super friendly and adorable:

Face to Face

It was a great weekend filled with fun, awesome food and wonderful friends! I did end up buying more yarn, and as I take photos for Yarn 365 I'll be posting them. I might actually round them all up together. In the meantime, you can check out more photos of London, llamas and alpacas on my flickr stream.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Stash Overhaul 2009

This weekend was a little nuts. There was paintballing and getting ready for a business trip to London and amazing BBQ at Hill Country. Somehow, in all the craziness, my first priority on Friday night was not packing for a week long trip to London, but organizing my stash.

90% of my stash has been located in bags. Not necessarily in the bags they were bought in, I did try to consolidate things a bit. All the sock yarn was together at least. All the yarn fit either under a plastic Ikea chair, or right in front of it. First step was to take the yarn out of all the bags so it could be organized into piles by what type of project I had in mind for it. This is what I ended up with:

My Stash

That's yarn for sweaters to the right, and the sock yarn is next to that. Then there's yarn for tank tops and summer stuff and on the far left is yarn for lace projects.

I had bought some plastic boxes from The Container Store (which were surprisingly cheap actually) and started shoving yarn into them in ways that made sense, trying to keep together the organization I had already put in place. The lace project and the tank top boxes are a little mixed in together since the lace yarn is small enought to fit into small spaces left by tank top yarn. The sock yarn box starts with solid colors at the bottom and becomes more and more multi colored as it gets to the top of the box. The sweater yarn actually had to be split up, so that there's a bag and a box of that (there's also a WIP yarn bag). And here's what I'm left with:

My organized stash!

The boxes are labeled on their front and I have a list of whatever yarn is inside the box on top of it (index cards are awesome). It might be a little anal. It might have taken me 2-3 hours to complete all of this. I might have packed last minute last night instead of on Friday night like I had anticipated, however, that corner of the apartment is way neater, and much more organized. :)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Knitting Meme

I found this on the blogosphere and rather enjoyed it. I think I might post about it every year just to see where I am and what new skills (if any) I've picked up.
THE DEAL: You mark the things you have knit in bold, you italicize the things you intend to try, and everything else you just leave in regular font. Because I'm not one to leave well enough alone, I'll probably end up putting in little comments about techniques that went exceptionally well, and ones that didn't so much, vs. things I want to try.

American/English knitting
Baby items - A few bibs and a stuffed bear
Bobble - Thank you Tangled Yoke Cardigan!
Buttonholes - They ended up a bit too big, so I'll have to give this another go
Cable stitch patterns - LOVE em!
Charity knitting - I think I knit some squares and helped seam a couple of blankets for Katrina victims at The Point
Combination knitting
Continental knitting - I want to like it, really, I do!
Designing knitted garments - I have a couple patterns in my Ravelry Store
Domino knitting - I might want to try this if I knew what it was...
Drop stitch patterns - Hello Clapotis!
Dyeing spinning fiber
Dyeing with plant colors
Dyeing yarn
Fair Isle
Free-form knitting - I'm also not sure what this is...
Garter stitch
Graffiti knitting - I want to tag my whole neighborhood!
Hair accessories - Well, they will be hair accessories when I get the hair clips!
Hats: Cuff-up
Hats: Top Down
Holiday knitting
Household Items
Kitchener stitch - LOVE IT!
Knitted flowers
Knitting a gift
Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine
Knitting and purling backwards - I'm not sure why I tried this, but it was kinda cool!
Knitting art
Knitting for a living - It's worth a shot right?
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting on a loom - I didn't know you COULD!
Knitting smocking
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)
Knitting to make money - Technically I got paid for that pattern published in Not Your Mama's Knitting
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with alpaca
Knitting with bamboo yarn - It was a blend, but I think that counts!
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Knitting with beads
Knitting with camel yarn
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with cotton
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Knitting with dpns - I hate it!
Knitting with linen
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn - I know, call me a yarn snob...
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Knitting with silk
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn
Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Knitting with wool
Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO
Machine knitting - That just seems to take all the fun out of it!
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip Down = meh.
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting
Participate in an exchange - I thought about it once...I think I'd feel too much pressure and shut down.
Participating in a KAL
Publishing a knitting book - Well...working for a publishing company that published a knitting book? Publishing a pattern in a knitting book? Consulting on a needlepoint book? I think all of those together count as me publishing a book. :)
Purses/bags - Nah...I feel like it's going to sag.
Rug - Maybe...maybe one from Mason Dixon 2
Short rows
Slip stitch patterns
Slippers - I knitted slippers for my mom. The ones from Weekend Knitting. I can't figure out how to put them together STILL - 4 years later. But they're knitted, so they count!
Socks: top-down
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys
Teaching a child to knit - I gave it a good old college try...I don't think she's keeping up with it.
Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing - Only if I have children of my own someday will I consider this...
Tubular CO
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern
Double Knitting

I added Double Knitting because it wasn't on the list!!