9 months in the making


Wow, I was going through my old emails, to see when I started my project with Stitch Diva Studios, and it was nearly 9 months ago. The owner, Jennifer, contacted me while I was at BlogHer, to see if I'd be interested in designing some stockings inspired by the photography of E. J. Bellocq (WARNING: Probably not safe for work).

Normally, I think that most people design their patterns, send them off to whomever, and await questions from the tech editor. That's usually about as much interaction as you'll ever have. With Stitch Diva Studios, the entire process, from conception, to test knitting to tech editing, is interactive with all parties involved, and I had a pretty large party to attend. It was great. I couldn't list everyone involved without making this sound like a bad academy awards speech so I'll just say that I was really glad to have such great people working on my pattern.

The Pattern is called Bellocq, and is being previewed right now at Stitch Diva Studios. You can see the pattern by clicking here or click the image below.

Image Copyright Stitch Diva Studios. All rights reserved.

It's not for sale yet, but will be soon, so if you are interested, please check back at the link above, or join their mailing list.

Home sweet home


In my last post I mentioned that Panda needed to go in for surgery today for a cleaning and maybe some extractions. Well, we're back and Panda did great. I brought her in first thing, for her dental surgery. She was done in an hour, no extractions required.
Once Panda was awake, they let me see her and said she'd need another hour or so before she could go home.
A friend of mine was kind enough to take me out to breakfast while Panda woke up and now we're home.

She's one groggy girl.

But I can tell she's glad to be back.

I'm still a bag of nerves, but I'm so glad that everything went smoothly and she still has all her teeth. Yay!

00001atthevetAt the vet

Panda recently had her first visit to her new vet. As you can see, she is not so big a fan of places like the vet, where there is this "indoor" thing that is not home and there are no waves or trees or squirrels to chase. For the most part, as we expected, she is healthy and happy and well. However, she's an aggressive bone chewer and had cracked a few teeth. The vet needs to clear away some plaque to see how bad they are cracked, and possible may need to extract the back teeth. All this requires Panda be put under. Eeesh! While the Vet feels comfortable that this is pretty standard surgery and should not be a big problem, Leo and I are, of course, nervous about her being anesthetized.

What are we to do? Why, spoil her rotten before the surgery, of course! There is no better way to do this than with lots of walks and a trip to cannon beach.

It's a picture heavy post, so I've placed all the images after the jump.




This entry also posted at the Create Along.

Because I don't have a definite plan mapped out for Lily, the time I've spent knitting the body, so far, has been a nice time to contemplate how I'll handle the arms and upper body of the piece.

Progress has been largely smooth, though I've had to tink and rip out some mistakes in the lace a few times. It's not a hard lace pattern but I've found I've repeated the same mistake with the nupps a few times.

I took a class on Estonian Lace, with Nancy Bush, about a year ago. In it, she demoed nupps as a detail worked over 2 rows. On row one, at the point that the nupp is to be performed, one works a series of alternating knits and YOs into the same stitch, always starting and ending with a knit. On the following row, all the nupp stitches are purled together. Shown by an expert, they seem deceptively easy. In the hands of a novice, they can be the instrument of torture. An even and exceedingly loose tension is required.

Barbara Walker prescribes a slightly different method. At the point of the nupp, 5 stitches are worked into one by alternating knit and purl stitches into a single stitch. The stitch count is reduced back to the original number, immediately, by passing the 4th, 3rd, 2nd then 1st stitch over the 5th one worked. I speed this up, ever so slightly, by grabbing all 4 stitches at once and passing them over the 5th stitch, in one step. However, I've been known to grab one too many or too few stitches, in the process, and throwing my stitch count off, unbeknownst until two rows later. The only fix is to rip back, though I usually do so over only the 11 stitches of that half of the stitch repeat.

Regardless, progress continues, as you can well see.

This shows the start of the 6th repeat of the 7.5 that I'll need before the armsceye begins.

You may be able to tell that there is a fairly long vent up each side of the piece.

I may seam up a little of it if I decide to put an additional hem on the piece. However, if I end up working just a crochet edge, the vent will stay, as is.

I've added the vents to improve the drape of the piece. I have a 10" difference between my waist and hips and when I shape at the side seams only, it tends to cause the fabric to buckle in odd ways, even when the measurements are perfect for my size. The fit is far better when I use waist darts, but they would have distracted from the lines of the piece, so the vents seemed the best alternative.

The ugliest yarn I've ever loved


For my birthday, among other things, my mother got me a gift certificate to Chameleon Colorworks. I combined it with a store credit I earned from some Spindlicity designs and decided to get the Luxury Fiber of the Month.

Janel was gracious enough to give me some advice before starting. The fiber would need to be spun into a yarn with a lot of twist, using the long draw method, and the finished yarn would need to be plied. Twist and ply are not a problem. I have lots of teeny tiny whorls and I always ply my yarn, but this long draw thing would require some practice.

I worked the last bobbin of my heather yarn using the long draw method. With careful pre-drafting and a little patience, I got the technique down fairly well. I won't be writing any books on the method, but I think I was able to make a passable yarn with the technique.

My first sample was Gray Yak. This stuff is SOFT. My long draw method, though, sucked yak knobs, when I tried it with this fiber. Pre-drafting seemed necessary, but hard to do because of the very short staple length and my inability to get a nicely pre-drafted fiber resulted in lots of thick and thin spots.

The finished fiber is just about 100 yards of some of the ugliest most "designery" yarn I've spun since I started spinning. The yarn itself averages around 10 WPI.

But, my god, even where it's overspun, this fiber is soft unlike anything I've ever spun before. If I were a yak, I'd touch myself all day. Wait, I didn't mean that to sound as dirty as it did. While I wouldn't consider this first luxury yarn a screaming success, I'm still excited to get my next fiber and try to improve on the method.

I'd actually really like to try spinning some of these fibers with a supported spindle of some sort. I feel like I'd be able to hone the technique better, but for now, that's just not in the budget.

If anyone else would like to offer any advice for next month, I always appreciate it, just comment away.

Share this page

April 2021

        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Find Me Here

  • rss
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • flickr
  • goodreads
  • google
  • linkedin
  • pinterest
  • ravelry
  • youtube

Featured Patterns