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Saturday, September 10, 2011

A beautiful Saturday

Today was Alex's first trip to the temple, and while it wasn't without incedent (Alex knocked the prayer roll box off the counter and made a huge racket in the quiet temple), it went about as well as I could have expected. 


 We waited outside the distribution center for the rest of our group to arrive, and then we went in and heard some stories about how the site for the temple was chosen.  Did you know that there are fossils in the granite floors of the entry way?  I had no idea, but they pointed a few out.

 Then we got to go inside the temple and see the visitor center (for lack of a better word), and listen to another story about the sacrifice of early saints as they built some of the temples.  They also pointed out some of furniture and the rugs, and talked about how the trees and flowers symbolize the tree of life.  It was really neat.
We all got together after, and Raini took family photos of everyone, and some group shots in front of the temple.  By that time, Alex had just about enough of being still and quiet so we decided that we would skip the picnic afterwards and just head home.  (Can you believe I took that photo?!)  Anyway, if you would like to see the full album (there are just too many to post in the blog), you can view it by clicking on this  link.

Oh, and I made great progress on my socks yesterday.  I like how they're coming out but I really had my heart set on a certain element of the pattern and it just doesn't have the same impact without it.  I think I'll try it again on the second sock and see if I can't somehow get it to work.  

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Quickly.

Just wanted to pop my head in to share my latest purchase: Coastal Knits.  I just pre-ordered my copy and I'm excited about knitting from this collection.  It called to me right away because I'm originally a California girl, so the West Coast knits all feel familiar and nostalgic to me.  However, I moved to Rhode Island about 10 years ago so the East Coast knits all feel like home.  What a perfect book to meet my bi-polar knitting needs :)  And as a fun bonus I got an instant download of two of the patterns, plus a few other neat little things.  I just need to find some time to knit just for me.  And I just realized...I'm self-employed when it comes to my design business, so I can knit for myself when ever I want to...so I guess I'll start right after my commissioned piece :)

Also, I have just over 24 hours before I can upload my SSS2011 pattern!  And to help me get over the anxiousness I've started another design for the Fest, which I'll toss in as a potential bonus.

Oh, and Alex did just fine today on his second day of school.  He told me all about his day and I think he's going to end up having fun after all.  Tomorrow I'm driving him and a few others up to the Boston Temple for a Primary Activity and I can't wait for him to see it.  I'm sure he won't react like I expect, but I think he'll like it just the same.  So, I'm off to finish watching Halloween Resurrection, and then I'm off to bed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rainy with Raini

This is my buddy Raini, and we were getting completely drenched in the rain while doing a photo shoot for my latest pattern design (which goes live 9/11/11).  She's so talented that she managed to take some really great photos with my little point & shoot camera.  I'm sure that we looked completely crazy to passers-by.  As a matter of fact, I know we did because a woman walked past us while we were doing one of the sidewalk shots, and she gave me The Eye.  Here's why:
Yep.  I looked like this, in public.  Plus, I was standing outside in the rain, in my handknit socks and a white skirt, getting completely soaked.  Sorry I had to cut off my feet in the photo, but the socks still can't be seen until after the pattern goes live.  But can you see my Vlad Shawl peaking out from under my husband's gortex jacket?  It rained so hard at one point that even his military-issued rain-proof coat couldn't keep me dry.  You should have seen me, with my wet sweater sleeves and my wet socks and crocs, at physical therapy.  I certainly made an impression in these socks, lol.  But at least my feet were still warm (wet socks and all).
Oh, and it also might have been Alex's first day of school today.  Lets just say that things went about as well as I expected they would, and that's why his teacher met me right as I picked him up to tell me that he'd had a difficult day.  I looked her straight in the eye and said "That doesn't surprise me."  We'll be scheduling a conference ASAP.  Also, Alex said school bored him and he doesn't want to go every day.  Sigh.  This is going to be a very, very long year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What did I do to deserve this?

I've had a mixed day folks.  I managed to find the two balls of Blackstone Tweed in the discontinued colorway that I needed to reknit one of my samples to match one of my patterns-in-the-works.  That was fantastic, and I bought those bad boys before my debit card knew what hit it.  I also got quite a lot done in the shop today and I had the satisfaction of being able to see how my hands (which touched just about every yarn on the machine-wash side) were able to make a big difference in how pretty it all looked.  But then I got a few customers today who were having trouble with projects because they were trying to knit something with a different yarn than called for, in a totally different gauge than the pattern is calculated for, and they wondered why it wasn't working.  Someone actually asked me to explain to them why they liked knitting with one yarn but not the other...?  How should I know why you like one thing and not another?  And honestly, you have the right to like what you like and to dislike what you dislike, so you don't need to stand at my counter and try to justify it to me over and over.  We have a simple exchange policy.  If the yarn is still in original condition, and you have your receipt, that's all I need.  No explanation necessary.  And I tried to tell this customer that, but she continued to justify.  Let the guilt go.  It's okay to dislike a yarn that we like.  Just tell me what you want and I'll point you in that direction...and if you don't like it...just say so.  We'll move on.

Now, that being said, if you want to knit something but you don't have a pattern, and you don't want one (which seems to be happening more and more often lately), I respect that but I can't be responsible for the finished outcome of a project if you wing it.  There are no guarantees in knitting, just like there are no guarantees in life.  And there are lots of little pitfalls that less-experienced knitters (and even very experienced knitters) can get into when knitting a garment with no pattern.  Why?  Because maybe the yarn has more drape than you realized and it flops all over the place when it's supposed to be structured and firm.  Maybe you knit a yarn at the necessary gauge, but got a fabric so dense that it can stand in the corner by itself.  Maybe you got something that is delicate and will pill if not treated gently...and then knit mittens out of it (like I did).  Or maybe it's not even the yarn.  Maybe the yoke depth is too deep and it bags under the armpit (happened to me).  Maybe the rate in increase is too fast and the gusset isn't long enough to fit your thumb without pulling up the cuff (again, happened to me).  Maybe you wanted to make a boat-necked cardigan and wondered why you never saw any patterns for one (only to find out exactly WHY there aren't any).

Designers make a million mistakes and they learn from them all, and then they pool that knowledge into a well written pattern so that you can knit a garment without going through all that.  You just knit.  We cover most of the unexpected issues so you don't have to.  It's hard work, and it's all available for your convenience.  So, if you want to know how many yards of some random yarn you'll need to knit a vest for an eight-year old girl, I'm going to point you to a pattern because there are way too many variables to go over and it would make your head spin.  And if you decide that you still don't want one, I'll respect that, I'll give you a very rough estimate, but don't hold me to that...cause things are probably going to go off the rails.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finally! haircuts!

It sure took long enough!  I've been pestering these boys all summer about getting a haircut and they've been putting it off and putting it off until they both had hair so long it was curling.  Legitimate curls.  Dante had ringlets!  Honestly I think that Alex dug in his heels because Dante was refusing a haircut, because once Dante finally gave in he was willing to get one too.  And that poor girl earned her money today.  He wiggled.  He giggled.  He whined.  He complained.  And through it all she just kept clipping and cutting, and when it was all done, he had his mohawk back.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the shop, Dante was getting a fade and having a chat with the barber (who is a friend of my husband) about fantasy football.  Then, we all came home and had something to eat, and then showers.  Now, they're truly ready for school on Thursday.

I finished my final project today and turned it in a little bit early.  I also sewed the buttons onto my socks and wove all the little ends in.  They are now on my sock blockers, looking cool, waiting for tomorrow night when I should be out in a cemetery in Warren shooting black & white shots of these socks with my buddy Raini (a talented photographer who has kindly agreed to lend me her expertise).  I sure hope we can make our schedules work, because I'm really excited about it.  I even shot off a quick email to The Powers That Be with photos of the design so she could get a sneak peak, just cause I had to show them to someone or I'd blow up!  But no worries.  I'm making some good progress on the next design and it should help take my mind off this one.  And the timing of these designs are perfect because it's been freezing around here at night and I've already pulled out my handknit socks (which are severely depleted due to worn-out heels).  I haven't knit myself a pair of socks in a while so the ones I have are really taking a beating.  Goodness knows, I've got enough in the stash for about 60 pairs of socks if I just sit down and knit them.  But that's a story for another day...

Oh, and I did a little experiment today.  I used my row counter to count how many times Alex asked me a question today.  I didn't start counting until 9am (cause I was sleepy and forgot about it...we were up at 7am), but from 9am - 6pm...my child asked me a question approximately 160 times.  That's actually on the low side given the 2 hours I didn't count, and all the times he asked questions that I answered automatically without remembering to click the row counter.  I discovered that when he starts a sentence with "Momma?..." he follows that with a question 90% of the time.  No wonder my brain doesn't work and I'm always tired :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

one down, one to go

Today, I not only finished knitting a full pair of socks for my SSS2011 design, but I also wrote the pattern!  I'm so stoked.  I wish I could show you a photo of the socks blocking, because they're hilarious looking (maybe I'll put up some blocking photos and photo shoot stuff after their release), but I have to wait till after they go live.  My husband told me that these are either going to be hugely popular (because they're so original) or they won't be...no in between...and I think he's right.  Knitters are either gonna love this concept, or they'll hate it, but it doesn't matter to me.  I had a blast making them.  They're exactly what I want them to be.  And they represent a fun, old fashioned horror movie (one I could actually watch with my 5-year old, who likes old horror movies like his momma) so they're dear to my heart.

So what did I do to celebrate, you ask?  I cast right on for my next Scarefest pattern, which I hope will make it into the 10-day pattern rotation, but if not it'll probably be a bonus pattern.  This one was actually my first idea, and I'm really excited about it too.  I hope it turns out just as funky and cool as the first pattern did.  Now, for those of you who might be playing along with the Scarefest KAL this year, I can tell you that for next week's pattern, you'll need at least 400-600yds of fingering weight yarn with some elastic content, and 6 small buttons.  I used two balls of Knit One, Crochet Two's Soxx Appeal for my sample, in color # 9812 (fawn).  There are two leg options, and if you decide to knit a full pair using version 1, you'll most likely need 3 balls of Soxx Appeal (or 600yds), but if you decide to do one leg in version 1 and the other in version 2 (like I did) or both in version 2, you'll be fine with 2 balls.  You could also use Cascade fixation, but it's a sport weight yarn and that'll mean that you will need to recalculate the numbers a little bit to get it to fit properly...and I can't accurately estimate how much yarn you'll end up using...so maybe you should just stick with something that knits up at 8sts per inch with elastic in it (you'll need the elastic!!).

And if you're wondering why I have a random picture of my baby boy in this post...it's because he's super cute and I don't have any knitting photos that I can share with you yet (and also zoo photos haven't been uploaded yet, but they will be) so enjoy the mohawk!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fun with my boys, lol

Now I know that this is, at the end of the day, a knitting blog...but I've had projects that I wasn't free to share so I've been giving you some insights into my crazy day-to-day.  And I'm sure that you've seen just about all you want to see of my family on this blog (lol) but my mom (who lives 3,000 miles away) reads this blog to stay up to date on what we're doing, so you're gonna have to suck it up a little bit ;)  Or you can take it up with her...

Anyway, things are starting to get back to normal, which means that I've got lots and lots of stuff on my plate.  The boys both start school on Thursday.  Dante started seminary on Wednesday and I just had a meeting with his teacher about his expectations for the year (more stuff to keep track of).  I'm driving some of the kids and teachers up to the temple this Saturday for the upcoming Primary Temple Trip.  I have my final project due this Tuesday.  I have my first pattern for the Scarefest due on the 11th.  I still have physical therapy, and my cat is due for a check-up at the vet.  Whew!

Oh, and my MIL asked me to knit her a sweater that she saw in some high-fashion magazine.  She tore out the photo for me, and I immediately took out a pin and started sketching over the top of the photo, to correct the issues that make that sweater unwearable in real life.  Then I flipped through to find what the hot colors were for the season, and went to work to pick out single skeins of several different yarn options for her to choose from.  I have a feeling this monumental project is going to end up as my first official pattern release...since I have to design it anyway and will have done all this work.  This will be a project that I get to show you and I plan to take you through the bulk of the process with me so you can see how my brain works (can't promise it will be pretty, or make sense).

Now, unfortunately I had planned to upload a video for you but my blog was giving me a hard time, so you'll have to click here for the hilarity.