Meet Haybale! (a new pattern)

Unlike its namesake, this is GUARANTEED non-itchy.

Sometimes in life you have to be open to a change of plans. This pattern is one example of that. Originally slated for a booklet I was working on, it’s been languishing here in the studio and frankly, I was starting to get sad every time I looked at it, so I’m releasing it. Pow! Done. Sadness conquered! Meet Haybale.

Knit in Alchemy Yarns Temple, in colorway Tea Party, this deceptively simple pattern has a few major things going for it.

One, it’s knit lengthwise, which makes it go MUCH faster. I learned long ago I don’t actually hate knitting scarves. I hate knitting scarves in the other direction! And if you start to run out of yarn, or get bored, or realize you have a lot more stash to kill off, it’s ok, just keep going!

Two, the stitch pattern is deathly simple BUT there are bobbles. You can try this fancy schmancy technique for perfect mid-row crocheted bobbles in a knit project from The Holocene, or you can do regular ol’ knit bobbles (directions included). The bobbles serve not only to break up the fabric and add dimension and texture but also to break up what is otherwise mindless TV knitting. Perfect for summer.

And three, the yarn. The yarrrrrrrn. Oh, this yarn is just TASTY. And Gina at Alchemy dyes such spectacular colors that even if this one doesn’t float your boat, you can surely find any number of others that will. Her new colorway Indian Paintbrush, for example.

(This would also be a killer stashbuster pattern if you have a lot of scraps hanging out in your knitting bin…just switch colors every row, or do the pattern in black and the bobbles in brights…it’s up to you!)

The pattern is available on Ravelry and if you’re on the Knitgrrl mailing list, check your inbox, there’s a special buy-Haybale-get-a-free-pattern offer waiting for you now.

We’re still prepping for the big TNNA tradeshow in (gulp) less than two weeks, so if you happen to be going, stop by and see me in the Cooperative Press booths, 355-357-454

Enjoy!

Aww, happy nostalgia!

I got emails about two new Craftsy classes this weekend, and the first one really had me smiling / tearing up a tiny bit. The BEAUTIFUL sweater by the name of Zelda that’s featured in the class photo for Joan McGowan-Michael’s new Feminine Fit class was originally commissioned by me for issue 15 of YF. It was the cover sweater, even, and I think I might even love it more now than I did then, which is saying something.

I am such a fan of Joan’s. This sweater of hers, Ruby, is sitting in my “knit when retired” pile at the moment because I’ve had the print pattern for years now and haven’t found the time for it yet. Sad, sad face. It is so gorgeous.

Then I got an email about Marcy and Katherine Tilton’s Ultimate T-Shirt class. Marcy was a fixture on the sewing show circuit several years ago when I was doing a lot of teaching for one particular show. She is so cool, and her patterns are, too. If you are a fiber artist, and particularly a felter, I have to tell you that some of her Vogue patterns, especially this one, are just MADE to be used with felt.

Also, if you live somewhere without a good fabric store or you can’t seem to find knit jersey you like, CHECK OUT MARCY’S WEBSTORE. You will have to lock your credit card away for a little while to calm down, trust me.

So many things to make, such little time. Sniff sniff.

Cruise + winner of the survey

(Funny if you read the last post’s title before this, eh? because where we’re going is a cruise…)

Special thanks to the magical robots at random.org, who chose #287, aka Dawn, as our survey contest winner. I double-checked, she’s on the mailing list, and so she’s won the full $100 and not half! Congrats to Dawn and thank you to ALL of you for sharing your opinions, because it really does make a difference in what happens next. I discovered some of the things I thought weren’t so important are, and also the reverse, so I will be changing up some of the reboot plans thanks to your input.

Now, on to some really fun news!

Join me + CP authors Kate Atherley and Anna Dalvi for 7 days in the Caribbean next January. The all-inclusive price includes 3 whole days of knitting classes, too. If you click the image below, it will open up an email to Linda of Viva Spain Travel, who is organizing the travel arrangements for our cruise, or you can just mail her yourself at vivaspaintravel@gmail.com

I know at least one LYS owner who’s indicated she wants to go, as well as alumnae from our cruise a few years ago when I was teaching for Debbie Stoller. It’s going to be a BLAST. I promise:

1. Not to sing “I’m On A Boat” TOO many times, but to refer to all footwear as “flippy floppies” no matter what
2. To do my hilarious Leonardo DiCaprio-in-Titanic “King of the World” impersonation and
3. If on a smaller boat, I will pretend we are in the Duran Duran video “Rio” for your amusement.

We need to have some headcounts in by July, so if you’re at all interested, talk to Linda soon!

Where do we go from here?

(If you are a Buffy nerd you just heard this in your head, didn’t you?)

I have been having an internal struggle about what to do with the blog during its planned renovation this year. As part of a larger transformation (improving pattern layouts and instructions, doing some re-branding for the Knitgrrl patterns and getting new ones released that have been hung up during the transition), I need to decide just what happens HERE going forward.

See, way back in 2002 when I first started the knitblog, there weren’t many blogs period, let alone knitting ones. (First entry. Feel free to laugh). There was no Ravelry, no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube, no Instagram, no social media as we know it now. Two years after that first blog post I was sitting on a 2-book contract for the Knitgrrl books. Ten years after that post and I’m running my own knit publishing company with 20-ish available titles, not even counting the 12+ I’d written myself.

My head is spinning just thinking about it!

There are thousands of subscribers to my mailing list, which is often neglected because I don’t like sending out emails without a point. (Oh hi, beloved mailing listers! I am going to mail you about this, though!), and I know from the stats how many of you read the blog, so it’s not like I’m just going to abandon it.

Instead, I want to ask you what you want. What you need. How I can make this a more helpful and better destination for you. And so I’m doing a survey… one where you can win up to $100!

Go here and tell me what you want, what you really really want.

(First Whedon, then the Spice Girls? What is this world coming to, anyway?)

Bunnies + Seattle, Portland, Atlanta

Happy Easter, everyone! (And hurray for Passover, because I got candy for that, too — let’s hear it for having friends of all holiday candy persuasions!)

It’s been a while. Oh hi. Since last I posted Google Reader shut down…hopefully you’ve found a replacement if you were following the blog via feedreader.

Usual excuses apply: I’ve been traveling like crazy (back to back Vogue Knitting Live in NYC, the O’Reilly Tools of Change publishing conference and Stitches West). This isn’t changing any time soon. This week I head out to Seattle for another Vogue Knitting Live, then to Portland for a trunk show at Pearl Fiber Arts, and immediately down to Atlanta for Stitches South.

At VKL Cooperative Press has its own booth, at Stitches South we are sharing with our dear friends from Cephalopod Yarns. Cephalopod + me = hijinks. If you saw that photo of Batman in our booth at VKL NYC? Yup. Our doing. I doubt there are superheroes for hire outside the hotel in Atlanta though hope springs eternal.

In Purely Crazy News: remember Maize? The sweater I oh so optimistically prereleased for ordering before the tech editing was done? And then I BROKE about five tech editors on it? Whew. I am SO GLAD to report that it is done for real now, and we’re doing all new photos for it because the tech editor who finally bent it to her will (Andi! Yay!) knit a new sample as she worked it out.

Halleluia.

So I’ve dispatched it off for photos and that’ll be out soon.

Meanwhile in my personal bat-cave, I have a resolution for 2013. I’ve been intending to a. revive my own pattern line, which has taken a real backseat to Cooperative Press work and b. publish more of my own work at CP.

On b, not necessarily pattern books. I really want to finish up the book version of the Get Published class I teach online. As part of that, I will be teaching another edition of the class online this spring. See knitgrrl.ning.com, we’ve got a thread going where you can indicate interest.

I wonder, though, if there would be any interest in doing a live bootcamp version of the class here in Cleveland (or elsewhere). Maybe around TNNA? Give a shout in the comments with your thoughts on that. If you’re a designer planning on attending TNNA already…

Other stuff: I have another big project underway that’s software-related. It’s taking up a lot of my spare thought cycles but it’s going to be very, very worth it. An amazing team of collaborators is falling into place behind the scenes, which is so exciting. Tiring. Exhausting. But exciting!

Hopefully, then, you can forgive my extended blog-absence. It’s a miracle if I’m home and making dinner before 8:00 on more nights than I would care to count, and sometimes I just want to run away and join the circus…but I persevere.

I like iPads, don’t you? Want a Mini?

We’re doing a big contest over at Cooperative Press. Here’s the info. It’s tough to get attention when you don’t have a kazillion dollars for ads, so you do what you have to in order to gather up the social media eyeballs and “meet” new people who haven’t already heard of you.

I spent a lot of time over the holidays recovering from a particularly vicious cold + sinus infection combo that took away part of my hearing for the better part of 2 weeks, and while knitting (something I also haven’t been able to do much of given the CP workload lately) — knitting a new green copy of my pattern Jasper, in fact — this is what I dreamed up. Hope you’ll enter, and that you’ll help us spread the word about CP.

(If I’m going to work myself sick, I might as well know it’s getting results, eh? She said, grumpily, wishing for more coffee).

HAPPIER TOPICS!

Let’s talk about happier things, ok?

One. That photo above. I was still extremely ill but we managed a pretty amazing photoshoot for my new book Sailor’s Valentine. I love Maine.

Two. See you at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC next week? We’re sharing a booth with our friends Cephalopod Yarns so please come say hi.

Three. Teaching AND a booth at Stitches West next month. BRAND NEW CLASS: Designer 101 bootcamp! And for the first time, Get Published sold out before Sweater Map…so, yay! That pleases me.

Four. Maize, aka the Sweater That Broke Multiple Tech Editors, is almost completely edited (and was reknitted in the process, too), which means the book it’s going to be in can finally proceed…I cannot tell you the size of the sigh of relief that’s going to come out of me then.

Basically, same stuff, different day, except with much more irritating deadlines this month, seeing how it’s a royalty-check month for CP authors AND I have to prep all the business taxes. Stuff that cannot be put to the side, in other words… hope you are all having a much more exciting new year! Here’s to 2013!

New interview in Yarnwise

I’m excited to see the new issue of Yarnwise with my interview is out now (AND available for download to iPad, etc which I am doing right now because it would be a little crazy to run to the bookstore on Christmas Eve). Thank you, dear Lou, for thinking of me and doing such a lovely interview!

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In related news, I’m finally allowed to announce my secret news from October — I’ve been chosen one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People for 2013. I even have a coffee mug to prove it. 😉 (photo TK when I’m back in the office)

Link to the article online.

Happy holidays, everyone. I’m taking a rare handful of days off (we celebrated our first wedding anniversary by staying home and watching bad movies…), and loving it! See you in the new year.

NaKniSweMo and so much going on!

How goes it, NaKniSweMo knitters? Reading the discussions over on Ravelry, it looks like a LOT of people are making great progress. Yay! I almost feel caught up from my MONTH OF MADNESS, aka October. Almost. You can see a lot of pictures from my month on the road over at Instagram — when I have some extra time, I’ll pull out and post a few.

“Caught up,” and yet now the holidays are upon us — I’ve finally gotten my fondest wish, which is having all the parents to our house instead of running around to multiple houses. This also means no fake butter in the potatoes (sorry, mother in law dearest, eating an insane quantity of mashed potatoes with stuffing on top of them is the highlight of my day, and fake butter will not cut it), an unlimited supply of Cranberry Sauce As It Should Be Made and an heirloom turkey from our CSA instead of some grocery store icebomb. Gosh. I’m getting hungry already just thinking about it.

Ok! Knitterly stuff to share. I promised Jill Draper this picture, and here it finally is. I got a sweater-sized skein of her spectacular Empire yarn at Vogue Knitting Live in January, knit the fastest sweater ever and then promptly forgot to take a photo for many months.

I’m pulling it down in the picture because I haven’t put buttons on it yet and long story short, it flies open when I’m wearing it now if I don’t clip it closed (see: hair clip at the top). Design flaw on my part, but the yarn is dreeeeeamy to knit with and knits up super-fast. I love it. LOVE. This color she’s got now is super more gorgeous in person, I was petting it at VKL Chicago…and I kinda want to combine it with this one, since I’m on an Ann Weaver grellowy kick right now.

SPEAK OF THE DEVIL i mean angel i love you ann SHE HAS A NEW BOOK! And The Line, from said book, is enough to convert you to all things grellow if you are not already a fan.

Other cool stuff… I wanted to point out some online classes at Craftsy by my friends that I think are great:

and for not only the knitters, but also the crafters/people who sell on Etsy/etc, our beloved Caro Sheridan’s Online Product Photography class.

Hmm, what else? I’ll be at Indie Knit and Spin in Pittsburgh this weekend selling stuff, so if you’re nearby, c’mon down!

NAKNISWEMO 2012: The NaKniSweMo-ing.

Ana (aka sugaroni) has made some FABULOUS new Ravatars for this year — grab them here.

Discuss what you’re knitting here.

Want to offer up a prize for this year’s successful finishers? Do that here.

And for those of you who haven’t played along in previous years, here’s what you need to know:

How it works with NaNoWriMo: write a 50,000-word novel in a month. As they say on that page: “This is not as scary as it sounds.”

How it works with NaKniSweMo: knit a 50,000-stitch sweater in a month. Just about any full size sweater will meet this criteria! If you divide your chosen sweater pattern’s rows or rounds by 30, you’ll have an idea of how many rows you need to knit each day to make it. Yes, the stitch count thing is crazy, but I think I can say with confidence that most sweaters out there are at least that, or more. We’ve been doing this for YEARS on Knitgrrl since I first thought it up, but our current HQ is the group over on Ravelry, so meet us there.