Many strings

When I first came up with the idea for Spun Love, my designs were only meant for me to knit up and sell as finished pieces. The more I shared my designs with other knitters, however, the more requests I got for patterns. I never dreamed that my designs might be appealing to other knitters, and the thought to publish these knits as patterns had never seriously crossed my mind. The idea was planted, and as it grew it became quite appealing to me. I think it’s safe to say at this point that my business model for Spun Love has changed, and I am quite excited about the prospects!

I don’t have much to share when it comes to new designs; I’ve been working on getting my first designs into a format to publish, and that means nailing down a style sheet, layout design and actually getting something out to my test knitter. I’m still working out the kinks for the first design I want to publish, and it’s definitely been a learning experience! In the meantime, I have a few ideas that need to be swatched out, and another piece that I just casted on to the needles. Craziness, both in all of the work I’ve been doing and the fact that I’m actually making this happen!

I am allowing myself one project at the moment that is completely unrelated to my design process, and right now it is this:

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The knit-a-long this year for the Seattle Knitters Guild is Bohus Stickning, and this is my contribution: the Large Lace Collar Tam & Scarf.

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I’ve done colorwork before, but never anything like this. If three strands of yarn wasn’t difficult enough, the colors are hard to distinguish and the chart alternates between knit and purl. With three strands of yarn. OY. More experienced knitters may find this easy-peasy, but for me a row of this can take forever! I’m really liking how it’s turning out so far, though, and it’s coming a little easier to me with each row.

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With all of the amazing Bohus patterns and kits available, I have a feeling this won’t be my last experience with this wonderful knitting tradition!

2011

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LACEY SUMMIT SOCKS | GRAVE DANGER SKULL HAT

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PACKERS SCARF | BABY PIXIE HAT

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OVERLAPPING LEAVES SCARF | LEAVES IN THE WIND SHAWL

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SQUARE HEAD BABY HAT | SILLE SHAWL

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SKG KAL SOCKS | EM’S HOOT

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Julianna’s Dot

This year wasn’t as productive of a knitting year as I would have liked, as far as the number of finished knits goes. And sadly, there were a couple knits that I don’t have good pictures of. Le sigh… However, this year marked my first in design ventures, which is exciting! We shall see what 2012 has to bring!

For the kids

Earlier this year, Rebecca Danger came to the Seattle Knitters Guild to talk up her new book, and she brought several of her little stuffed friends with her. It was awesome! I’d been eyeing some of the patterns in her Etsy shop for a while, and that night I snapped up her book and started brainstorming who I could knit up some monsters for. A few friends of mine obliged me and had a beautiful little baby girl in September, so this is what I sent her for Christmas:

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Pattern: Dot the Dress Up Box Monster by Rebecca Danger (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Comfy Worsted from Knit Picks; Lilac, Sweet Potato

Monroe really wasn’t sure what to think of Dot.

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Also on my kids knitting list recently:

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Pattern: Hoot Toque by Megan Grewal (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Comfy Worsted from Knit Picks; White, Hawk, Ivory

Seriously one of the cutest hats I’ve ever made, on one of the cutest little girls I know.

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Sille

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Sille
Yarn: Alpaca Lace from Cascade Yarns; Ecru

Designing this shawl was a little more problematic for me; not because the stitch patterns were difficult, or the construction was more complicated. Mostly, I think, my problems were due to budding designer syndrome. In other words, not taking the time to really double check my charts, and working 12 rows before realizing that my pattern was slightly off. Or not using a bind off that is loose enough for the scalloped edge. Whoops! This shawl definitely taught me a few valuable lessons, all of which I sorely needed to learn.

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It still came out ok, I think.

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I really loved the alpaca yarn; I’ve tried knitting lace with alpaca before, and for whatever reason I failed miserably. I just couldn’t get a consistent gauge; it was either too tight or too loose, and I would just get frustrated. This yarn, however, was marvelous to work with, and the blue beads on the edge added a nice, subtle touch.

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Spun Love

Last Fall, I married my best friend. It was a day of joy and family, and we had the best friends and relatives to help us celebrate and prepare for our lives together. I was incredibly lucky to have my dress custom-made for me by my incredibly talented and crafty mother, and we designed the gown around this:

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My Aeolian Shawl, which I knit up particularly because I wanted to wear something other than a veil. The result was a beautiful, unique piece that I can pass down to my daughter, a new family heirloom, if you will. The thought didn’t cross my mind until after the wedding that other brides might be interested in something similar…

Earlier this year, I took a lace design class taught by the incomparable Sivia Harding at my new favorite LYS, Serial Knitters. She opened up a whole new world to me, not just in the context of triangular shawls, but design in general. My perception of knit design, I realized, had been terribly limited, and I left the class with a seemingly endless stream of ideas for lace designs. My goal was to come up with several polished lace designs to offer to future brides, along with the option to custom design a piece to a bride’s specifications. With the choices in yarn, shapes, stitch patterns, colors and beads, the possibilities are endless! And thus, Spun Love was born.

My first lace shawl design is the piece that I started in Sivia’s class:

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Leaves in the Wind
Yarn: tosh lace from madelinetosh; Kale

I decided to add a center panel where the center stitch usually is.

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One of my fellow classmates lamented the fact that she didn’t care much for scalloped edges, which are quite common in lace shawl designs, so I decided to make this edge straight.

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The yarn was absolutely exquisite, and it softened up so nicely when blocked. I wore this shawl the other day and marveled at how beautifully the fabric draped. I need more of this yarn!! I also plotted where I could incorporate beads into the pattern.

My second design was knit up in a week. I found out last minute about a vintage wedding show in my neck of the woods, and decided that I had to pump out this little scarf/shawlette in time to take with me.

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Overlapping Leaves
Yarn: Lace from Malabrigo Yarn; Blue Surf

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That’s the same stitch pattern that I used in the center panel of Leaves in the Wind; obviously, it struck a chord with me! This is constructed quite like Sivia’s Heart to Heart Beaded Scarf, and it was a very easy and quick knit. I think I even have enough yarn for another! Part of my reasoning behind using this particularly luscious yarn was the color; what better way to have something blue on your wedding day?

Right now I’m working on my next piece, another triangular shawl. I’m almost to the edge stitch pattern, which I’m planning on knitting up with beads. I had one little roadblock with my charts, and had to rip back twelve rows rather late into the shawl. (Meaning there were many stitches per row!) I’m just chalking that little incident up to my being a noob designer, and have already learned from the experience.

FOs!

Many FOs. Socks:

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Pattern: Waving Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Sock from Malabrigo; Indiecita

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Pattern: TTL Mystery Sock 2010 by Kirsten Kapur (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Artisan Sock from Hazel Knits; Aquarius

Mitts:

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Pattern: Violeta by Melissa J. Goodale (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Artisan Sock from Hazel Knits; Cherry Fizz

And hats:

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Pattern: Striped Pixie Elf Munchkin Hat Photo Prop by Angie Hartley (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: 220 Wool from Cascade Yarns; 8401 and 2404

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Pattern: Skull Hat (with a variation by me) by Gina Doherty (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: 220 Wool from Cascade Yarns; 9404, 8505 and 8555

And some other odds and ends. There’s also been a lot of lace knitting happening over here, but I’ll save that for another post. ;) That last hat is my very own Grave Danger merch, and I am quite happy with how it turned out! (I really need to get some good photos of me wearing it to an actual bout.)

Tooting my own horn

Even though my summer was consumed by the wedding, some knitting still took place and I have FO’s to share! First, a gift for my wonderful Momma:

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Pattern: Alhambra by Anne Hanson (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Whisper Merino Laceweight from The Woolen Rabbit; Chiquitita

I was able to give this to her right before my wedding. I love giving her things that I’ve knit; it’s like a thank you to her for teaching me.

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Some friends of ours have a baby girl who just turned 7 months old the other day, and I decided that Baby Harper needed a jacket for Fall:

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Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: 4th of July from Briar Rose Fibers; 7130

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I just love the simple lines of this pattern. The yarn was leftover from the Christmas Hat I knit up for my husband a few years back, and it was sooo perfect for this BSJ! So warm and squishy… Harper and her parents love it!

This next project was one that I had originally picked out some Malabrigo worsted for, then decided that the colors were too much for the cables. The softness of the yarn was perfect, though, so I just picked up another skein of Malabrigo in a different colorway. ;)

Pattern: Celtic Cable Neckwarmer by Lindsay Henricks (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Merino Worsted from Malabrigo Yarn; 204 Velvet Grapes

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The picture still really makes the colors pop and hides the cables, but in person the colors are just enough yet not too overwhelming. It’s my new fav piece; I’m wearing it right now! :D

My current WIPs are mostly for Socktoberfest, but that’s a whole other post! I also have a few requests from friends that I need to get going on… There’s just not enough time in the day! I’ve also been contemplating the jump into dyeing, and trying to spend more time on my spinning wheel. All of this on top of being a new wife, and trying to figure out where I want my career to go! At least the knitting and spinning affords me some quiet time for contemplation.

Forever and a day

I know, that’s how long it’s been since I’ve updated anything!! But I have a good excuse: I’m getting married. :) I’ll have five months total to put this shindig together, so most of my spare time has been spent on that. There have been very few precious moments for knitting or spinning, but when they come along I savor every second. Spinning, especially, has become my excuse to sit down and just breathe. Unwind. Sort all of my thoughts. It’s wonderful!

Now that we’ve set a date, that means I finally can say with absolute certainty when I’ll be able to wear this:

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That is a happy thought, indeed!

Recent FOs

Oh wow, I really have been slacking… Somehow, the Fall and Holiday season went by so flippin’ fast! I have been doing some knitting, at least, to keep me sane!

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Pattern: Aeolian Shawl by Elizabeth Freeman (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Whisper Merino Laceweight from The Woolen Rabbit; Arabian Nights

Another Aeolian! I loved the pattern so much, I had to do another one. This time I didn’t place the beads where the pattern says to (except the three bead groups in the Agave and Edge Set-up Charts) and instead of doing nupps, I placed beads. With the weight of the yarn I used, I think this was perfect! I also found myself in a major bind; I totally screwed up the middle in the Edge Set-up Chart, and ended up improvising the center edge of the shawl.

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It seemed to come out alright, so I’m good with that!

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Pattern: Autumn Hat by Ruth Sørensen (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Wool/Acrylic 8/2 from Kauni; EV

My first ‘real’ colorwork, I wore this hat all Autumn and received many compliments. Love it!

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Pattern: Ivy Vines by Anne Hanson (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Berry Sincere Sheep, hundspun from Tactile Fiber Arts fiber; Berries and Cream

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Pattern: Ivy Vines by Anne Hanson (Ravel that sucker!)
Yarn: Silk Blend Manos del Uruguay; 3043

Both of these cowls were Christmas gifts; what a beautiful, quick knit!

New strategy for next year’s Christmas knitting: start early. And when I say ‘early’, I mean ‘now’. ;)

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