Pursuit of Fiber

This is my pursuit of my dreams and aspirations in college to have a career in fiber. I have dabbled in many things of the fiber world, but knitting is my main obsession. Occasionally you will see the others pop up.

FO Friday: The 9 month sweater

Wheat-ear remixWow my butt looks so tiny in this picture. Still in shock of my new body.

Pattern: Wheat-Ear Cable Yoke by Pam Allen from Interweave Knits Summer 2007 project page
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Venezia Worsted in Olive (818 yards – 3.75 skeins)
Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) Inox Express Circular, US 6 (4.0mm) Crystal Palace Circular, US 7 (4.5mm) Crystal Palace Circular and US 7 (4.5mm) Asciano Circular Needles

Wheat-ear remix

Mods: This is one giant modification.  The pattern is designed in pieces from the bottom up.  I knit it top down in the round.  RobinM and I decided to do a convert-a-long for this pattern during the 1st Quarter of the Sexy Knitters Club.  I have a sinking suspicion that Robin bailed on me.  I don’t blame her since this sweater took me just a tiny amount of less than a full term pregnancy.  I cast on January 8th and cast off September 8th.  It was a shock the day this finally was placed into the sink to block.

Wheat-ear remix

Facts to Remember: That hem ribbing should be more than the 3 rows that so many designers consider acceptable.  Depending on my hems mood, it will flip up or stay down.  That the right needles make the knit more enjoyable.  Lastly I shouldn’t dread knitting the sleeves because really they aren’t that bad, especially with my new skinny arms.

Wheat-ear remix

Things I Love:  That I accidentally knit for my new body instead of my old one.  I have no clue how this would have fit before all the weight loss.  The unblocked picture taken in January or February make it look tight but not that bad.

Wheat-ear remix

The Bonus FOs: Cowl edition

I can’t believe that my most recent knitting FO post was back in early februrary. Shocking. Sorry to leave ya’ll hanging like that.

Thermal Cowl

Pattern: Thermis by Kris Knits (ravelry pattern link) project page
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted in Marron Oscuro (152 yards)
Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) Inox Express circular (lazy loop method)
Mods: Instead of casting on 8 stitches in backwards loop method, I picked up the stitches from the back so as to avoid seaming in the end.
Facts to Remember: This pattern is off on the gauge, so I just grabbed one needle size down from the stated needle size and cast on.  The knitting went perfect from there on out, but its always good to check the ravelry forums and the comments on the pattern and people’s projects for errata info.
Things I Love:  The color of the yarn.  I can’t wait till the weather is perfect for this yummy cowl.

Cowly goodness in the form of fabrege

Pattern: Fabrege Cowl by Nina Machlin Dayton (ravelry pattern link) project page
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted in Buscando Azul (150 yards)
Needles: US 7 (4.5mm) Harmony Interchangeable Needles & US 6 steel(1.6mm) crochet hook (for beading)
Mods: I knit it tighter to give my friend a tighter cowl than my first one.
Facts to Remember: That random isn’t always good.  I used a multi-colored bead set (the website I purchased from is weird so I can’t link you) and at first I just grabbed a bead and added it.  It looked horrible and thankfully I had screwed up the stitch pattern (started too late at night) and so I had to rip back to the beginning of the beading and alternate matte and shiny.
Things I Love: The color.  Hmmm… I seem to be a broken record about this, but I got this yarn and felt it was just a touch too bright but I’ve loved the FO pictures of it on me.  I bet Jess will look fabulous in it with her winter coloring.  I sent it to her in March and she loved it.  Now I need a cowl in this color.  Thank goodness I still have a portion of the skein left.

Cliodna

Pattern: Cliodna Cowl by Jenny Raymond (my design partner) project page
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted in Applewood (119 yards)
Needles: US 7 (4.5mm) & 9 (5.5mm) Harmony Interchangeble circulars
Mods: None
Facts to Remember:  This pattern was so smooth that I just need to remember the pattern.  Highly recommended and not just because I the designer and I are partners, but for the beautiful FOs and the perfect sizing and clear chart pattern.
Things I Love: This skein of Applewood is fabulous.  The last one I had was a bit too pale.  This one is just perfect.

Squeee a fall cowl

Pattern:  Coniferous Cowl by Amy Duncan (ravelry pattern link) project page
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Seleccion Privada in colorway R (95 yards)
Needles: US 10 (6.0mm) Kollage Square Circular needles
Mods: Duncks loves a smaller cowl than I prefer so I increased from the small to the large size.  Thus this test knit is goes from the small snug size to the large loose size.
Facts to Remember: That highly variegated colorways do have a purpose.  This is pattern was perfect for this yarn that hadn’t decided what it wanted to be until Duncks tweeted a picture of this.
Things I Love: The fit even if it isn’t the standard one and the swirlies.

IMG_1956

Pattern: Berthe Collar by Karin Maag-Tanchak in No Sheep for You (ravelry pattern link) project link
Yarn: Madelinetosh Pastoral in Nocturne (42 yards)
Needles: US 8 (5.0mm) Harmony interchangeable circulars
Mods: Cast on 71 stitches and knit till I ran out of yarn.  This was the leftovers from a hat which will be shown next week.
Facts to Remember:  Ripping is necessary when trying not to waste a single inch of yarn
Things I Love: That my Lime E. Wedge pin has a permanent place to live.

WIP Wednesday

Patterns:

Hedgie (aka Smith by Ysolda) in Noro Silk Garden Sock

Pearl Drop sock in Madtosh sock

Dr. G’s Memory Vest in Malabrigo Worsted

WIP Wednesday

Patterns discussed:
Wheat-ear Pullover (remixed version)
Pearl Drop Socks (regauged)
Basic Ribbed Hat (no pattern)

Sock yarns discussed that I prefer in uses other than sock knitting:
Koigu KPPPM & KPM – shawls and sweaters
Dream in Color Smooshy – baby items
Lorna’s Laces Shepard’s Sock – baby items and accessories

(I might have accidentally messed up the color, it will be back to normal next week.)

FO Friday: Something a bit different

Weight loss journey after
If you click through to the photos, I’ve added a bit more facts into them

I’m super happy to be sharing with ya’ll a journey I took this summer to gain back me. One where I was willing to face the camera again. Its funny I design clothing for a living and I love it, but I was starting to dread standing in front of the camera. More and more I was dissatisfied with photo session with churchable. He might be telling me “You are beautiful”. His nickname for me is even: Beautiful. Why couldn’t I feel that beauty.

weightloss journey before
This picture was taken during the wedding ceremony when I should have been happy for my good friend.
Thanks to the other tiger for letting me use this picture.

I had a shocking realization at the end of my 30th birthday. We had just driven back from a friends wedding in Southern Oregon. I felt horrible and hated the car ride. This was something new to me. How could this have happened?

weightloss journey before
This picture was taken before we headed into the Oregon Caves for pre-wedding fun.
This photo was taken by the bride (Corgi_t on flickr and SFCorgi on ravelry)

Well that night before we walked to dinner, I stepped on the scale just to see if it was my imagination or was there some facts to go with this. And I should point out that in the 5 years of dating/marriage, churchable has seen me grow from an almost too skinny size 6 to you should be in a size 14 not those size 12’s you stuffed yourself into. I was ignoring the size change, maybe the number on the scale would get me back to reality. It stated 168. “Ok not bad I thought,” but on the way to dinner I shared with churchable that really I wasn’t that off. With the next few words out of his mouth my spirits and self-flattery hit rock bottom. He informed me that our scale weighted in 10 lbs light. EEEP!!! I was 178. No freaking way I had gained 43 lbs in 5 years but the cold hard facts were staring me in the face. With determination I ordered the healthiest thing on the menu at the Mexican place (not like there is much when its smothered in cheese and sour cream). I focused on reducing my portions.

Monday morning dawned with a realization that I needed to do something and one of those things was to get that lying and cheating scale out of the house and bring in one that could be trusted to tell me the cold hard true.

My journey had a few rules.

1. Eat three meals a day (I was knitting so much that I was luck if I hate one meal at 10pm)
2. Stick to proper portions (and no a bag of salt & vinegar chips aren’t a good lunch)
3. Make sure my fat was low (I tend to eat a lot of fat. I love my cheese and full fat dairy)
4. Make sure I have enough protein to get me through the day.
5. Find a breakfast food I could stomach every day and look forward to eating (I need a new one but yogurt, ground flaxseed and fruit got me through 4 months)
6. Exercise at least 30 min a day (Sadly I hurt my knee in mid-July so I’ve been relying on diet since then)

To help me through this journey, I used Sparkspeople.com. Its an amazing resource with articles, food journals (that calculate the calories, fat, carbs, & protein for you and tell you what range you need to eat in to lose the weight) and exercise journals and videos to get you moving in the right direction.

weightloss journey beforeWeight loss journey after
Before / After

As of this morning, I’m sitting pretty at 149. An almost 30lb drop from that initial weight in, but I log my actual drop to be 24 lbs based on the number the new scale gave me.  I’ve gone from a bad muffin top in size 12’s back down to the size 8s I refused to toss out.   And you know what I feel amazing to have shed so much weight: Emotional weight (I discovered several reasons that I packed on the pounds and I hope to have beat those monsters) and Physical weight.

Weight loss journey after

Well I’ve come to a plateau of which I’m happy to sit on for a while, but churchable and I have figured out that we both need to lose another 10lbs. So this goal will hopefully be completed by the new year together. 2.5lbs per month isn’t that hard to get off especially if I can add back in physical exercise now that my knee has stopped hurting. I just can’t ever run again.

WIP Wednesday – 6 months of backlog

Hey guys please let me know how the volume is? It might be a bit loud this time. If it is let me know and next week I will lower it to a reasonable level. Still working out the bugs. I normally use my video to Skype with my design partner Jenny.

Patterns shown:

Tapestry Cowl in Yummy Madelinetosh tosh sock
Wheat-ear pullover (Remixed) from Interweave Knits (IK) Summer 2007 in Cascade Venezia Worsted
The Green Whisper to arrive on March 2010
Dr. Gs Memory Vest in Malabrigo True Solid Merino Worsted
Pearl Drop sock (remix) in Madelinetosh tosh sock releases October 10th 2009

And I’m back…..

Fool’s Gold is in the Fall 2009 Knotions.

Let me know what you think about the video format.

A much needed break

Hmmm.... is it cold yet?!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written this post in my head or tried to log into my blog to actually do it.

I’m flat burned out.  I need a break from a bunch of things and a 6 week blog silence proves this.  I have lots to show but don’t feel motivated to say it.

I want to focus on my designs and regroups, so I will be lengthening this blogging break to 6 months.  I hope to pick up again in August, refreshed and ready to share all that has been bestowed upon me.

If you want to keep up with me, check ravelry or flickr.

Peace: Shalom to you!

Peace

A few days ago I mentioned that the Hebrew greeting, Shalom.   Shalom has its roots in wholeness and completeness plus it tends to be tied to perfection.  For now we won’t focus on the perfection because perfection doesn’t usually get attained when we are aiming at it.  Its one of those things that sneaks up on you and then you realize things are “just perfect” and you hadn’t even tried or realized how good things were.

Shalom is a blessing (divine blessing and grace), a state of affairs and so much more.  Its one of those powerful words that seem simple but in reality is this huge iceberg submerged below the initial glance.  One who is experiencing shalom should be living in  harmony, tranquility, and prosperity.   Through this place of being flows the ability to overcomes discord and hatred in family, community, national life, and the prevention of war.  But all this peace first has to flow through these things before it ends at prevention of war.  If you can’t be at peace with your family, community or national life then how do you expect war to end.  It starts at home within our hearts and souls.  This is my main reason for focusing on the relational interpersonal side of peace.  Some times we think PEACE and that its this huge unattainable thing that can’t be budged.  It can if we focus on our inner selves.

As soon as I started thinking Peace/Shalom, I stumbled across this pattern called the Shalom Cardigan(pdf).  It has slowly grown on me to the point that I intend to join a knit-a-long being lead by my friend Tricia (SFCorgi).

This is a bulky weight knit so it will be speedy which should give me some resolve since the rest of my projects are currently being knit on small needles.  The Shalom KAL is part of Malabrigo March Madness over on the Malabrigo Junkie group on ravelry.  Just over a year ago, I stumbled across the group and now I have the honor of being an admin in the group.  I love this group of gals and gents.  Our love of yarn has spread to a love and acceptance of each other.  A peace within our differences.  Even through a rather stressful and emotionally charged election season, we continued to encourage each other even if that other person was campaigning for the other side than you were.  It was/is an awesome group to be part of.  They are where I go when things are hard.  I can spill my troubles and they listen, give hugs and if needed hand out advise or offer to shoot the person who offended you.  Plus we share our laughs and talk about how malabrigo may or may not be better than sex.

Look forward to a bright orange cardigan OTN after March 1st.  I will be at Stitches West (thursday – sunday) leading a group of gals in Malabrigo March Mass cast-on.  Look for me there or follow me on twitter (FYI I’m very careful of who I add over there so if I deny you, PM me on ravelry and let me know you want to follow me.)

A week in review:

Mondays are all about peace:

I’ve been super busy with so many things that completely forgot plus I wasn’t even home on Monday so that doesn’t help the routine.

Peace

Peace an etymology:

A simple definition that is two fold.  Harmonious relationships and the absence of stress or anxiety.

How many of us struggle with those around us?  Maybe there is that one person that just rubs you the wrong way time and time again.  I know I have a few people like that and I know that I have been that person for other people.  Its just human nature to have conflict in one way or another.  We don’t strive for it; it just happens.

Also our modern culture seems to encourage and breed stress and anxiety.  We are rushing here, there and every where in between.  We never have enough time to just sit and be.  Maybe that’s why so many of us who read this blog enjoy sitting and knitting.  It allows us to just be and pulls that stress away from us.

In some of the older languages, peace is a greeting.  Like in Hebrew or Arabic, Shalom or “salaam” respectively, has multiple meanings: safety, welfare, prosperity, security, fortune, friendliness.  Most people use it for many different purposes.  Growing up in that part of the world, I’ve always understood it as “Hello, I hope you are at peace today”.  This might not be how native speakers are meaning it, but I think is like a shortened for of the American greeting, “Hi how are you today?”  A question that rarely gets an honest answer.  Normally just a “fine, thanks”  We like to put on an appearance of being ok.  Being peaceful.  Being happy with where we are in life.  But in reality we are far from this inner peace.

Peace is a sense of balance between it all.  Its not really an easy thing to balance out.

People that experience inner peace say that the feeling is not dependent on time, people, place, or any external object or situation, asserting that an individual may experience inner peace even in the midst of war.

Maybe you don’t think you feel peace.  Have you every used one of the following words to describe yourself or a situation?

Calm, calmness
Placidity, placidness
Quiet
Serenity
Tranquillity
Hush
Lull
Stillness
Untroubled

But then maybe you yearn for those feelings, words, attitudes, sense of being.

Preview of next weeks peace focus: Malabrigo March is starting and I’m knitting something “peaceful”

Wednesdays are for WIPs:

There are three items actively on my needles.

Tapestry cowl.  Round 22

Tapestry Cowl

or swiftly

In yellow soxs I box my Gox

Malabrigo Lace design

& a new design with a macro preview

Fridays are for FOs and Pattern Releases:

For several months I’ve been mentioning a secret squirrel project of which I had also roped the ever talented knittymuggins into testing for me.  She is stunningly fabulous in her abilities to help me clean up a pattern for release to the general public.

Let me introduce the Pearl Drop Sock.

Pearl Drop Complete

She has been a lovely labor of time and energy to get my vision and her (the sock’s) vision into a cohesive clearly understood manner. Each step of the way I knew a bit of what was to happen. From a lovely toe-up start to the slowly graduated pearls:

Toe and pattern shaping for the pearl drop

to the a gusseted heel flap with an optional reinforced heel:

The sock - the heel and I have history

to PICOTS!!

Cute delicate picot top ribbing on the pearl drop

I was commissioned this summer by the lovely Bette of Beyond Basic Knits to create an exclusive pattern for her sock club that she was developing. I had never tried socks but I decided this was the perfect situation to attempt sock design. I loved the challenge and the small canvas that I had to work with.

The pattern will be available for sale here and on ravelry for non-sock club members on October 10th, 2009.