Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Favorite Springtime Color

My favorite springtime color is black. Just look at it!

It's been raining here for the past few days, punctuated by nice mild, sunny days. As a result, the trees and the grass are the kind of vibrant green that only fully develops in the rain, and flowers are popping out all over the place. Tulips and daffodils and these little purple things that I suspect are crocuses, but I'm not gonna lie, I actually don't know what a crocus is.

Amidst all of this glorious color, we have patches of rich black. The bark of a wet tree, the black soil out of which the new flowers have emerged. The night sky, deeper and darker than before after a few seconds of sudden, lightening-strike day.

The black is life-giving, and sets off the richness of the brighter springtime colors. But it's beautiful in its own right. It's rich, it's moist, it's velvety, and it has a life of its own. Within the black are sparkling droplets of water, storm clouds a slightly lighter black than the sky at night, texture and variation. It captures shades of brown and blue and even green and pulls them into the dark, fathomless realm of black.

Monday, April 20, 2009


It's like housekeeping, only...with blogs! I gotta warn ya today, kids, I was up until the wee hours last night writing a paper on how Dostoevsky expresses his life-affirming religious philosophy by having characters commit suicide and drown babies. Yah. Might be a titch disjointed today.


Subtle changes you probably didn't notice around the blog:
1) Files are now hosted through a new and MUCH BETTER service! Holy crap. I settled for much less than I should have with my first service, given that I was looking for something free. Now when you click on the download links from my pattern pages, you'll just start up a direct download. No leaving the site, no ads ( ads that you'll ever see. I'll look at all the flashy ads they want me to, as long as they don't charge me and don't hassle my users).
2) Pattern links are now listed to the left of my blog entries, along with links to errata and my new copyright notice.
3) New copyright notice!!! Go ahead and read it. I'll wait. K, you're back? Was it clear? Does it make sense? No? Then email me! I want it to be as simple and fair as possible. Want me to make an exception for you cuz you're special? Email me! I really just might! Seriously. There will be very slightly different copyright stipulations for my for-pay patterns, and I'll put those up once they're, y'know, relevant. :-)
4) In anticiapation of said for-pay patterns, I've opened up my Ravelry Store.
5) I've also opened an Etsy Shop for you non-Ravelites, but no link yet cuz it's ugly and empty. I'm tinkering with some small projects to list as well - FOs to help fill up the shop mostly so the one for-pay pattern I'm almost done with won't feel lonely. Pics of those to come. :-)
6) Knitting away on the larger-scale projects. Here's a teaser:

Cheese and apples and sky-blue mohair. I'm making a series of hats on a really neat theme - you'll see once it happens and I'm not all Dostoevskified. It's a set of three hats, and I think I'll offer one for free and then put the rest up for sale in lots of different sizes. Also cheese. Just...cheese. Cheesecheesecheesecheesecheeseheese. Need I say more?

Oh, I can't wait to be able to think again. Until then, I think I'll go do some mindless cabling.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Busy Weekend

Of course, I'm sitting here blogging on my laptop at the dining room table, so you'd never know it's been a fairly busy weekend, BUT IT HAS BEEN!!! Not as busy as it needed to be...but still. I've gotten plenty done, and there's plenty more to do.

Probably of most interest to you will be the progress I've made on Bluebonnets! I really like how it's turning out. I feel the need to throw in the typical "This will look much nicer when it's blocked" disclaimer, but I like how the open rib at the top mimics the fluffy, round column of blossoms you get on a bluebonnet. I'm using a slipped-stitch cable to create the stem and leaves, and I love how leafy it's turning out! I'm knitting this hairband from the center out, and I now have one side done and the provisionally cast on stitches picked up. Pattern's set, chart is drafted, all I need now is to knit the other half and pretty up the directions, and it's off to be tested!

Did my taxes. Wooooooo. Unfortunately, my former job wasn't so good with the withholding, so I owed a painful chunk of change. Turns out, though, that after finishing up my taxes today, I only owe slightly over half of what I thought I owed. That's still over a month's worth of rent, but still. I'd planned for much, much worse.

And other than that, I have a boat-load of school work to do. I've been plowing through a Dostoevsky novel, reading up on a presentation I'm giving on Tuesday about Dostoevsky's less-than-sympathetic attitude toward Jews in Russia and Europe and doing some editing and follow-up emailing for a professor. Oh, and articles on cognitive linguistics and Russian morphology. Let's not forget those.

Oh right! It's Easter! Happy Easter, everyone. It's easy to forget about this particular holiday, being childless and not really religious. But it's blatantly springtime outside, and all of my friends are posting to their respective blogs about family and food and coloring eggs with children, so it's definitely Easter. I'd been planning to make a big roast chicken dinner tonight, actually forgetting that it was Easter. My boyfriend, who shall remain nameless, is at his place, my roommates are with family, so...big dinner by myself? Woo. I'll try to focus more on the amazingly tasty food I'm able to prepare, and less on the fact that I'll be enjoying a big, Easter dinner with my cats.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tied Up and Twisted

My "Happy Weekend" present to you: a new free pattern cum blog giveaway!

Download the PDF here.
"Tied Up and Twisted" is amazingly quick, amazingly easy and surprisingly versatile. The twisty pulse-warmers will keep you (surprisingly) warm while the weather warms up, and the hairband can be worn in lots of different ways. There are yarn overs worked down the length of each piece, which allows you to button them anywhere along their length. Use these pictures as “serving suggestions.” There’s plenty of room for creativity!

I knit these to show off the wonderful handspun yarn I received for Christmas from Woolly Hands. Worked on large needles, this yarn knits up quickly and with lots of character! You could substitute a bulky yarn of more even thickness, but I think you’d lose some of the character of the piece.

Blog Giveaway
Remember "Bluebonnets?" It's coming along great, and I'm almost ready to have it tested. Because this pattern is slightly more complicated than my two free patterns, I'm going to charge a little for it.

Want to get it for free?

Knit up "Tied Up and Twisted" and post it to Ravelry with pictures and a rating by the end of the month, and I'll enter your name into a drawing for a free PDF copy of "Bluebonnets" when it's tested and finished. I'll draw 2 names at random and contact the winners through Ravelry on May 1. You have to be on Ravelry to enter, but this gives you time to get an account if you don't already have one (it's free, and soooooo worth the clicking and typing). And yes, I will enter your name even if you only give me one star. Be honest. :-)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Click here for an explanation of this term in plain English.

Sneak Peek

New pattern, coming soon! This right here is only 1/3 of what you'll get. *smiles coyly*

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another "To Knit"

This thick, delicious wool was spun for me by a friend (with the help of her son) as a birthday present, and it has "thrummed mittens" written all over it! The yarn is a bit scratchy, but not unpleasantly so. It's not something I'd want to have next to the skin on my forehead necessarily, but it's a good, sturdy yarn with character. This will make wonderfully warm, water-resistant mittens, and a layer of soft thrumming inside will keep my hands feeling warm and cushioned! I think a nice bright green roving would look nice with this yarn - spots of green on a field of rich brown, like the buds that really really really really really need to start poking out of the mud here soon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My "To Knit" List

I'm focusing very deliberately on my own designs these days (many of which I can't tell you about yet, but boy am I getting this coy smile down). As a result, it's been sort of a while since I've knit a pattern by anyone else! I think it's important that I continue to knit other people's designs not just for designer solidarity, and not just because there are so many beautiful things out there that I want but did not design. Knitting other people's patterns is how I learn new techniques and construction methods. It's how I push my envelope, and it's how I'm able to expand what I'm able to design myself.

I've been drooling over some patterns by Ysolda Teague, for instance. I've never knit toys or anything stuffed before, and I know at least two little boys who really need a handmade stuffed elephant. I've not knit a slouchy, beret style hat either, and she has some really nice ones. I'll go with a lacier one, I think, maybe Ishbel because I need to flex my lace chops some more. I should try out a shawl too, circles and triangles. Maybe Bethany Kok's Shipwreck.

I've never done much with color, but I'd like to work it into my knitting more. I may start with Paper Dolls, by Kate Davies. Owls (scroll down from "Paper Dolls") will happen as well, oh yes it will, though I don't need practice cabling. I just love it, and it needs to happen.

It will be a slow, slow process, working through this list, both because it's a rather expensive list and because I do intend to continue focusing on my own designs.