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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Creativity ain't pretty

Creativity ain't pretty or conducive to sleep.  I was up till 2 am swatching for an exclusive pattern for Bella Yarns, for the Yarn Crawl this April.  When I went to bed, Alex was up and wet so that was another 20 minute circus to get him all cleaned up and settled in again.  He was awake for a while and trying to talk to me.  Fast forward to this morning when he decided to get me up out of bed at 6am.  Yep, I'm going on four hours of sleep, and two monster energy drinks folks.  I finished my swatches, had them approved by Naomi, came up with two more ideas on the way to the shop, brought home donuts and made dinner, worked on my project for school, and cast on for the afghan for Cascade.  Guess what else isn't pretty after four hours sleep (besides me...), my math skills.  I ran the numbers three times and came up with three different numbers.  I had to pull back one long, long row at least three times.  I think I have it now.  I am writing the pattern while I knit so I don't have to wonder what the heck I did while I was knitting under the influence of 4-hours of sleep.  I'll look at it again tomorrow and see if it looks right, before I get too far along.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Honestly, I don't know why I do these things...

Today I got this urge to look at the submission dates for one of the online knitting magazines, the one that I had this design in mind for, and I realized that the submission deadline isn't until June!  While I was looking for that, I found one for Interweave Knits magazine, for the Fall 2011 issue and I realized that my design works well (or at least I think it does) for one of the catagories that they are looking for.  I look down the page and I see that the submission deadline is on Monday, March 14th.  That seems do-able, but I look further and I see that the submission has to be submitted by mail and has to be there by Monday!  This is Thursday.  I need a proposal, a completed submission form, a sketch, two swatches (because of the variation in my design), and they all need to be labeled and in the mail before 5pm today.  It was 10am when I saw this.

Now, a reasonable person with some sense would realize that they couldn't make the deadline because they have homework and a project to do and they can't get two "generous swatches" knit in time to get all of this in the mail...but I've never been accused of being reasonable.  I decided to go for it!  I wrote up the proposal (it's more like a three page essay on this pattern and how it came to be, plus a title page), and revised it.  I saved it and the submission form to my flash drive and started knitting swatches.  I finished my swatches at 3:30, gave them a quick steam block, and ran out the door to the shop where I could print everything out and label it all.  When I was there, I realized that I was still missing the sketch, so I quickly whipped out the colored pencils and got busy.  It's not my best work, but I think it gets the idea across.  It all went into a page protector, and at 4:50pm I got it to the post office and out the door!  It's going Express so they are guaranteed to have it in their hands by 3pm tomorrow. 

Why do I do these things?  Why do I toss out a perfectly good day when I wasn't tired and could have focused on my homework?  Because I'm nuts!  And I like living on the edge and facing rejection, lol.  I've tossed two proposals out into the world, and they were both received very well.  I'm hoping that this one will too, and that my next idea for Cascade will go over as well as the first one seems to (because I haven't even knit this one yet and I've already got yarn in hand to swatch for the next one).  Maybe this is how I subconsciously chose to channel the nervous energy from the upcoming unemployment appeal on the 18th...  Either way, the snowball is rolling down hill now and it's picking up speed.  No going back now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Alexander's purple sweater

So it turns out that I forgot to blog Alex's purple sweater.  If you know us personally, then you've seen him wear this sweater a few times by now.  It has quickly replaced his green sweater as his go-to sweater. 

The pattern is from Knitting Pure & Simple (the child's top down v-neck pullover) knit with three skeins of Cascade 220 superwash.  I made the size 6 so that he can wear it next season too.  I'm rolling the sleeves up right now and it's definitely big on him so I think it's safe to say that he'll have it for at least one more year.

In other news, there is an opening for a Design Assistant with Berroco, which is conveniently located in North Smithfield, RI...and as I happen to be a Rhode Islander, and an amateur designer, and I think that I qualify for this job in all areas except for the college degree (the degree type was not exactly specified and I am one year away from completing my degree), so I went ahead and tossed my resume into the pile.  My husband is really proud of me.  I'm hoping that the fact that yesterday was my birthday and I found this posting about five hours after it went up will be a sign and turn out to be lucky for me.  I know that I am a good knitter.  I can knit on DPN's, use the two-circular method, and use the 'magic loop'.  I know about 'jogless jogs'.  I can read charts.  I can knit lace and do lace knitting (and I realize that there is a difference between the two).  I can design patterns.  The only thing I haven't yet done is write a pattern for a sweater because I am still learning about pattern grading, but I have designed a few sweaters.  I can knit socks.  I can knit pretty much anything because I have a wonderful talent for following directions (a recent discovery about myself, lol).  I have learned to alter patterns.  I am generally considered to be a fast knitter and have been told that my work looks machine knit.  I teach classes at the yarn shop, and I take in repairs and finishing work.  And I'm 6' tall so I'm great at reaching things without a step ladder.


So why am I justifying all of this?  Because I am still new to design and I'm just starting to find my place in the world of pattern writing.  I don't have a large following.  I am still trying to get my name out there.  I don't have a design background, or any formal training in textiles, but I have been working with yarn in some form since I was 11 years old.  I learned to crochet first and I did that exclusively for years.  I also learned to latch-hook, needle-point, and cross-stitch, but none of these really stayed with me.  I discovered knitting when I was about 25, and I've been knitting ever since.  During that time I have challenged myself to knit things that were beyond my current skill level.  I've stalked knitting blogs and surfed Ravelry for years.  I've sketched ideas into a sketch book and have been trying to balance knitting for my family and the shop with school and working on my designs.  The ideas come so fast and so often that I have to take the sketch pad with me everywhere I go.  I don't have the background or the body of work that many of my fellow designer have, but I know that I learn quickly and I have some great ideas.  I have submitted patterns to major companies twice.  Once I was awarded honorable mention, and would have been chosen as a winner if it weren't for the delay in getting permission to use one of the motifs (there just wasn't enough time before the contest ended).  The other was accepted and I am awaiting the yarn to knit the sample.  I think those are fantastic odds.  Two designs, two favorable outcomes.  What I really need is to be able to work under someone with more experience than myself so that I can get a feel for how things work and can come into my own.  For that reason, I went ahead and submitted my resume to Berroco because stranger things have happened, right? 

Monday, March 7, 2011

A little bit Goth

Yesterday, I finished a pair of socks that I've been drooling over for a long time.  I first came across them in the project page of a fellow Raveler (he does fantastic work!!), and I fell in love with the color.  I looked for it everywhere and I finally found a ball in the sale bin at Fresh Purls.  I first cast on for these back in 2009 on the way to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (Rhinebeck) with my buddy.  I split the ball into two, and knit them from the toe up to use every last scrap I could.  I managed to finish one just after returning from the trip and then I let the companion ball rot away in my stash for over a year.  I honestly don't know what I was thinking, because I love these like I've never loved another pair of socks!  I love them.  There just aren't words.  The color combo is so brilliant and I love how they look with these jeans.

My only mistake with this pair is that I really wanted the to match so I knit the second sock to the exact stripe pattern as the first one, and there was a slight difference in how wide the stripes were so my second sock is just slightly longer than the first (in the foot and leg).  Just enough to be noticeable if one was looking close enough, but not enough to really feel different when I'm wearing them, so I'm going to leave them alone.  I've got one foot that's slightly longer than the other anyway...  So, this pair of socks is the first project for myself in the month of March, which is supposed to be all about me knitting wise.  Unfortunately I have to finish the Bridgewater shawl because my friend's wife went into labor a few days ago and this should have been there already.  Now I'm just hoping to get it out to California before they bless the baby.  I've also just receive confirmation of the yarn shipment for that secret project I'm knitting for that company that shall remain unnamed for now.  I don't want to take any chances until the pattern is up on their site and I've got the check in hand.  I've also had a few more design ideas flood in, including one for a lovely yarn that doesn't have much going on by way of pattern support, one is a fantastic pullover inspired by a high-fashion blouse I saw on a now-canceled t.v. show, and the other is an idea for an alter cloth for the Boston Temple. 

In other news, I took Dante to the orthopedic specialist today and she gave him a clear bill of health.  He's got standard Osgood Schlatters, which basically means that his muscles are pulling really hard on the growth plate below his knee, and it's inflamed.  It's basically a really good case of growing pain.  All we need to do is tell his coach about it and they should know how to tailor his training to help minimize any pain.  He's cleared to compete, and he's a happy camper.  I am a relieved mom.