Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday Sampler: Bye Bye Summer!

Yep, somehow, it's the last day of August. Which means the very bestest time of year is almost HERE!

I really, really want to like summer. I do. I loved it as a kid, as a teenager, as a college student. But then--adulthood. As an adult, you most likely spend summer locked up in an office, or at home shuttling your kids to activities and trying to make sure they don't drown. Either way, you're not relaxing at the pool with a good book.

Also, bugs.

I swear, summers are a lot buggier than they were back in my day.

There are some lovely things about summer--fresh herbs and veggies from your garden, grilling, beach trips, picnics--but I'm always glad to say goodbye when summer's at an end.

Here are a few ideas for celebrating these last days of summer:

Give your self a fun, summery pedicure, to see you through the end of sandal season.

Make some popsicles to enjoy while the heats hangs around for a few more days (weeks . . . months?).

Use up those garden tomatoes--gazpacho!

Or, as I plan to do, tomato jam!

And you can't let the mint go to waste--mojitos!

Freeze those herbs and veggies, so you can enjoy summer year round.

Start learning to crochet, so you can make this fun top for NEXT summer!

And remember. . .

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Finish Up Summer: Dealing with Distractions


It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that I'm failing this "Finish Up Summer" thing miserably.

The one thing I have finished is the design sample for the Javi sweater--that's a little sneak peek you're getting up there. Now comes finalizing the pattern. As seen in this week's Tuesdays with Dory, this whole process can be tricky, particularly when it comes to maths. At least for me.

I've also been putting the finishing touches on another pattern that will be released soon, which I'm very excited about--an actual adult garment!

But mostly, I've been distracted by this:

The Fibre Company yarns are some of my favorites, and right now they're hosting a sweater design contest. As usual, I leapt before I looked, and got myself all worked up about this opportunity, crazy deadline (September 30!) and all.

I'm working with this yarn, Savannah, in the Persimmon colorway. It's a wool/cotton/linen/soya blend, but surprisingly soft, with subtle variations in tone. I've sketched and swatched and got a few inches on the needles, but there's a lot to be done and very little time to do it in. Wish me luck!

With all of this going on, my Finish Up progress has been limited to a few extra inches on my Cool Breeze cardigan, and a few repeats on Mom's now-Christmas socks. Still, we've got, what, a week and a half left in August? There's still time!

Don't forget to visit the MediaPeruana Designs group on Ravelry and share your summer finishing progress--or lack thereof.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesdays with Dory: Design Edition


Dear Dory,

I'm curious about the design and pattern publication process. In your understanding, how does it work?


Wondering in Wichita

Dear Wondering,

Based on months of observation of Kristen, I believe the design process goes something like this:

1. Get an idea! Check Ravelry and see if there's anything similar.

2. Find 17 similar things, get discouraged.

3. Have a new idea!

4. Celebrate because this idea is original.

5. Survive a week where the baby wakes up every 2 hours at night; completely forget not only brilliant idea, but how to knit, and even how to dress yourself.

6. Suddenly remember idea at 3am; sketch Thing out. Wonder why you spent so much money on art classes in high school, because sketch looks like it was created by 3 year old drawing with crayon held in his mouth.

7. Start swatching. Find 18 squillion stitch patterns, shaping ideas, yarn combinations, etc. that won't work.

8. Finally settle on vague concept of how Thing will be knit.

9. Submit Thing to knitting magazines' or yarn companies' calls for submissions, or request yarn support to publish independently.

10. Finally, Thing is accepted by someone! Start knitting sample.

11. Rip back. 

12. Frog.

13. Rip back again.

14. Realize you weren't taking any notes. You now have no idea how to recreate what you've knit.

15. Knit some more, taking sketchy notes this time.

16. Done! It looks like Thing! Awesome!

17. Gather your almost-useless notes and start writing pattern out and doing maths to figure out various sizes. Question entire endeavor.

18. Take a break from writing for a week, hoping the math will do itself.

19. Drat. That didn't work. Start writing again.

20. Done! Woohoo! Find test knitters to test your pattern, ideally in a few sizes.

21. Test knitters finish knitting, and actually have things that look like Thing. Success!

22. Pass your pattern on to a tech editor, who will point out embarrassing math errors, spelling mistakes and other obvious blunders you can't believe you didn't notice. 

23. Voila! Your pattern is complete. Pass it on to interested parties, possibly along with your sample, and take a vacation. Or drink a lot of wine.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Sampler: Trimmings and Finishing Touches

When you put all that time and effort into a handknit sweater or shawl, you want it to look perfect. So don't skimp on the small details--the perfect buttons, sassy ribbon for the button band, and other thoughtful touches will give your handknits that extra something special. Here are a few of my favorites:

Find these and other perfect buttons at AMECOScrafts on Etsy. I just placed an order on the 15th, and it's already arrived!

Prefer fabric buttons? NotSoShabbyChic has a nice selection!

Like beaded knits? The Loopy Ewe sells beads now!

If you reinforce your button bands with ribbon, check out BJsRibbonsGalore on Etsy, full of fun ribbon options!

You did amazing work on that shawl, now show it off with a stylish shawl pin! Check out Nicholas and Felice's Etsy shop for more beauties like this one.

If you sell or gift your knits, you might consider adding custom tags like these, available from MommieMadeIt.

Looking for other ways to put a special finishing touch on your knits? Check out Craftsy's Button Bands and Buttonholes class with Ann Hanson, or try Franklin Habit's class on Heirloom Lace Edgings.

Happy finishing!

(This post inspired by the Finish Up Summer! KAL. Join us over on Ravelry to see how many WIPs you can get out of your WIP basket before fall arrives!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Finish Up Summer Update


So, it turns out, vacationing with a 6 month old isn't that relaxing. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite. I did manage to flip through the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living one afternoon while CP walked the seashore with JJ, and my sister took over baby duty for a few hours one night so we could get out to a (very early) dinner. Otherwise, it was much like being at home, only sandier.

Maybe next year.

I did manage to make some WIP busting progress with some car knitting:

Moms socks are coming along, though there's no way they'll be done for her birthday Saturday. Christmas?

I'm also nearly finished with this baby pullover design!

Don't forget to join us over in the MediaPeruana Ravelry group to Finish Up Summer--we'll support your WIP-busting efforts!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wittle Wednesday: 6 Months Old

I'm six months old already! I decided to take Mama and Papi to the beach to celebrate--see you next week!