A few late night textures

So last night I was up late working and took a few photos around the studio.

When I first started blogging (1999) I was up late a lot and most of my blog photos looked like these, with their yellowish tint. Nowadays, the standard for blog photos is so high that I rarely post my late night pics any more. I try to wait for good light. BUT…now that my hands are full most of the day, you’ll probably see more of these hazy midnight ones.

My friend Karen aka “Chooch” or “ChooChooknits” worked on this piece and it’s GORGEOUS. The yarn is Cascade 220 tweed, one of my favorite all-around yarns:Sort of a potential sneak peek?

Teeny tiny picots knit in KnitPicks Simply Cotton Organic Sport:

Little picots

I love this little sweater. It’s so feminine, but the color keeps it from being overly sweet. It’s one that a mom would want to wear, too!

And, lastly, here’s a solid color version of my Feisty pattern, knit by my friend Sue. The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted. I just LOVE this cable pattern. Something about it just makes me want to get lost in it. A dark blue Feisty knit by my friend Sue

Sue finished this before Olive was born, and I think Olive will make a great model for it this fall!

A lot of my first sweaters were done mostly in stockinette, because I was more concentrated on working the overall design and the overall shape of the sweater itself. I’d get an idea for a garment construction or certain shape and then race to see how it’d work out. Now, I’m thinking more and more about textures, overall stitch patterns, and how they are worked at and around the raglan and body shaping. I think that all of that early practice in sort of blank – slate knits has trained me to be able to know ahead of time how the overall structure will work, so that now I’m adding in more detail.

It’s interesting what a growth process it is. AND, designing the shawls that I’ve done recently has really helped me to see how motifs work at the raglan. How to start at the neckline with a certain number of stitches, and gracefully add lace or cable motifs in as I increase to create the sleeve / body.

Just a little bit more about real life

We had a lovely day yesterday, planting in the yard, Nathan cooked all of the meals, and then after supper we went out for ice cream. Just a really quiet, nice, family day. Thank you, family!

While I’m here in Southern New Mexico with my two little girls, working in the yard, going to the library, going on play dates, I sometimes feel really isolated. It’s great to hear from you all, by email or from those of you who’ve left comments about my Real Life posts from a few days ago. I’m starting to feel like I’m not alone in this whole ‘trying to figure out my purpose in life’ thing!

I heard from one science-y knitter who said she’d been wondering what happened….the whys of the whole transition from work to home. I just couldn’t write about it at the time. We’re well – trained to keep things glossy. If you have a bad situation at one job, maybe you don’t work well with others. (Which would make you a less desirable hire.) Also, it was just too personal…and I didn’t really know HOW I was feeling at the time. A HUGE amount of relief, mixed in with guilt (there goes that potential salarythat we’d been planning on) and regret (all that time in school “wasted.”) It just took me a while to wade through all of it.

I think it came to the surface because I’m starting to feel like I’m really back on my feet after Olive’s birth. I also have been SO busy with the girls that I just didn’t ever really take the time to think. And having more and more time to think gives my head some space in which to process it all. I kept finding myself tweeting little melancholy things, so I thought I really should just write it all out and see what the real issue was.

Blogging as therapy!

Now that I’ve gotten it all off my chest I really feel like it’s time to just move on, focus on the work at hand, and get back into some serious knit designing!

Can I get a WOO HOO!?

Stitch Cooperative classes this June!

SO. You know how there’s a huge knitting event in Columbus in June? And how only people registered for it (yarn shop owners and industry people) can take the classes that they offer?

WELL. My friends at Stitch Cooperative are also offering classes that ANYONE can take!

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You might need to click on these images to see all of the details.

Here’s a link to more info about all of the classes offered.

Really, when else would you have the chance to take a shawl class from Miriam FeltonMiriam's shawlthen a publishing class from Shannon Okeyget-published followed by tech classes from Andi SmithAndi Smith — Tech Class+ for LYS employees and crochet classes from Robyn Chachula!!? baby sweater Not to mention Imagining Yourself as a Hat with Teva Durham and Dora OhrensteinImagine Yourself as a Hat! And THEN, when you think you just can’t stand any more…Combination Knitting with Annie ModesittCombination Knitting with Anne Modesitt I mean, I’m not even doing justice to the number of classes! Almost all of these famous teachers / designers are offering THREE classes.

You really, if you’re in town for the big convention or if you are anywhere NEAR the area, couldn’t imagine a better lineup. I know all of these women personally and they are amazing people. Amazing designers, and amazing teachers!

Take the opportunity to learn from them! Sign up for a class or two!

You may see me and Olive wandering around the classrooms, too! I just can’t imagine trying to teach AND nurse Olive. SOMEone would not like it.

They're called BUST DARTS, not short rows!

bust dart swatch

Well. yesterday I tweeted that I was working on a little short row tutorial for my Fit Your Knits class. Honeybee33 RTd with comment: “short rows or bust darts, because they are not the same thing.”

Oh, Snap!

In doing my research for this tutorial, Deborah N-Sanders (AKA Honeybee33) is one of the people who was most often recommended to me as a resource for bust dart information. My friend Kathryn is a bust-darter, and she converted my friend Cindy. Kathryn can bust dart any fabric…cables, ribbing, lace, you name it. Kathryn is one of those knitters who has taken charge of her knitting (I find this infinitely refreshing!) Weeks ago, I g-chatted Kathryn and asked her some questions, and, who did she recommend that I search out? Honeybee33 and the tutorial in Big Girl Knits.

Deborah is absolutely famous on Ravelry for her knowledge about bust darts. Vertical bust darts, horizontal bust darts, using more than one dart in a garment…I’m a recent member / longtime lurker of The Bust Line group, but hadn’t really taken the time to sit down and read everything, let alone swatch.

When the students in my class started asking about short row bust darts, I put together a list of resources. But in my heart, I knew that this just wasn’t good enough. So I started seriously reading the information that my busty friends and designer colleagues have recommended and working out a video tutorial.

Bust dart resources

And now I want to recommend these resources to you:

Debora wrote and published what she called a “Titorial” which was later published in Yarn Forward Magazine in two installments. Here are the links to purchase both issues of the magazine. (It’s WELL worth the roughly $10 total for both issues.) Issue 15 & Issue 16. Now we just have to pressure her to write the follow-up with more advanced techniques!

And, for a written-out, customize-able formula (don’t worry, the math is easy!) definitely buy a copy of Big Girl Knits if you don’t already have one!

For me, and I’m a “math girl”, it took actually working through the steps in the Big Girl Knits book for this to make sense to me. I had to see it in stitch counts (I also worked out a few swatches) before I convinced the “It’s too hard!” part of my brain to shut the heck up and let me work my bust darts!

You may be thinking things like, “You’re supposedly a designer, how did you not know this already?” Well, I’m asking myself that, too, and I think I’ve come up with a few reasons:

1) This was me before we had kids: IMG_2213

When I was working on Fitted Knits, that was my body type…the willowy, no need for bust darts shape. (Deborah recommends bust darts for C-cup or larger, and that was not me.) This is also why I got so much flack for my designs not taking “real” shapes into account. At the time, I took a lot of offense to that statement because this was actually the curviest / heaviest I’d ever been and really FELT big myself. Because I’m so tall, even at this weight I wore a 12. SO…reason # 1 boils down to the fact that I’ve never had to work bust darts for myself.

2) When I knit samples for publication, I have to knit to the publisher’s standard (usually a 34″ bust).

3) I just didn’t realize the number of people who do need to do this shaping in everything they knit. Now that I’m among that group…I’m dedicated to educating myself about the various bust dart techniques so that I can be more sensitive to those people who have to alter my patterns…and more aware of the different body shapes that also need pretty designs. Why not add in easily-alterable shaping to begin with? Why not position lace panels and cables so that extra sts could be worked between them if necessary?

So, don’t take those as excuses, just REASONS. And, as Deborah pointed out that I needed to do…I’m educating myself. Now that I’m getting back into designing at roughly 2 years since my last book came out, I’m taking shaping much more seriously. I’ve also been rethinking my raglan shaping techniques and everything that goes into my designs. Working on the book that I’ve alluded to over the winter really helped me to align my thoughts and to hone my process.

You’ll start seeing more from me again soon!