The Pleasure of the Process

I was looking through my sketch books this morning and was blown away at the amount of ideas I have sketched and collected in just a year. I find the very process of coming up with ideas to be just as exciting as seeing the final results knitted up.

This got me to thinking about the notebooks of other designers and after a search on Flickr, I was very pleased to find some designers willing to give us a peek into their sketch books and design process. May you be inspired to pick up your pen and pad and create something new.

photo by litlnemophoto by: have you any wool?photo by jessfir

 

photo by MaryJaneM
 

photo by The Bacanes

 
 

Submission Is Damn Sexy

When most people think of the word, ‘submission’, they think of some poor woman buried under the foot of an overbearing husband. Some more kinky-minded individuals think of the S&M games we like to play in the bedroom. To knitters, the very sound of the word turns us on!

Knitters know that submitting can be damn sexy and very fulfilling. So, what kind of submission am I talking about? It’s the kind that can transform a knitter from a hobby crafter into a full-fledged knitwear designer. It’s submitting your work for publication consideration.

There are knitters who have wet dreams over the thought of their patterns being published. And if your pattern makes it to the coveted front cover of a knitting magazine, well, that’s a full on orgasm right there! It doesn’t matter if you just learned to knit two weeks ago. If you have a design idea in your head, why not take the chance to turn it into a sweet profitable reality?

Below are a list of a few upcoming calls for submissions for you to consider. *Warning- the reading of submission guidelines is  known to be an aphrodisiac.

Twist Collective Winter 2011 Issue

Deadline for submission: May 5, 2011

Submission information:  http://www.twistcollective.com/collection/index.php/component/content/article/95

Mood board: http://twistcollective.com/articlepdfs/tc_winter_board.pdf

Clotheshorse Spring 2012 Issue

Deadline for submission: May 20, 2011

Submission Information: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/clotheshorse/pages/Design-Submission-Guidelines

Mood board: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/clotheshorse/pages/Spring-2012-Call-for-Submissions

Knitscene Spring 2012 Issue

Deadline for submission: May 20, 2011

Submission information: http://www.knitscene.com/contributor-guidelines/

Knitty.com Deep Fall 2011 Issue

Deadline for submission: June 1, 2011

Submission information: http://www.knitty.com/subguide.php

The Will To Traveling Well

Well, I’m on the plane again this week, traveling to sunny California. I am attempting to pack all my things into one giant duffle bag and bring with me only one carry on. (This is the attempt I make every time I travel. The reality is that I end up with two over stuffed suitcases, my laptop bag , purse, knitting bag, coat and a personal pizza from that Pizza Hut kiosk that seems to be in front of every gate.)

My hope this trip is to test a theory regarding airplane travel that I often hear about.  I’ve read many times in travel magazines that airport staff treat people differently based on how they are dressed. The more “rich” or “business” -like you look, the better service you receive.

I’ve always been a sweatpants and worn out t-shirt kind of traveler, which usually has resulted in me blending in with the airport walls. It’s not that I’ve gotten bad service from my appearance, just usually not much service.

This time I want to see what would happen if I came to the airport in a bit more high-fashion style. My inspiration is Ivanka Trump, who, in the February 2011 issue of Travel + Leisure, showed how to travel in true style.

Ivanka Trump Dressed For Travel

Read full article here: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/ivanka-trumps-jet-set-travel-outfit#

With Ivanka as my muse, I have actually washed my clothes and made the effort to match up an outfit along with a necklace and ring. I’m even going to sacrifice comfort for style by wearing *gasp* high heels! I’ve been cleaning up the scuff marks on my purse as I plan for it and a light sweater to be the only items I go through security with. But fear not!No knitting will be sacrificed during this event. Hidden in my purse will be at least two socks on the needles ready for me to knit.

My cell phone will be at the ready, tweeting my travel experiment as it unfolds. And I plan on doing a post the next day to let you know how things went. Wish me luck!

My Cute Little Sock

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Okay, I just couldn’t wait to share my freshly made sock. Just clipped the last piece of thread before I snapped a picture of this lovely creature.

Yes, a pattern for the sock will be posted soon. But right now I feel like a proud mamma showing off my little baby. Isn’t it just percious?

Sunset In Sedona Two Needle Socks

 
Sunset In Sedona Two Needle Socks
 
Finished sizes about: 6 ½- 7 (7 ½, 8, 9, 9 ½)” foot circumference.

Yarn used: 1 skein of Aslan Trends Natural Luxury Yarns Santa Fe 1334 yarn from their Kettle Hand Dyed Collection. 50g / 1.75 oz. 85% Merino Wool / 15% Polyamide. Approx: 180 yards / 165 meters

Needles size: One pair of straight needles size US 0-3 (2-3.25 mm) or whatever size is needed to obtain the gauge of 7 stitches per inch in St st. (Personally, I used US size 5 needles to obtain gauge, but I‘m just weird that way).

Other supplies: Some stitch holders or scrap threads to hold stitches on. You may find a row counter to be helpful in keeping track of rows while knitting the heel flap.

Special skills you need to make this sock: Flat seam (aka- Bickford seam)

Leg Portion
 
 Cast on 44 (52, 56, 64, 68) sts. Work a 2 x 2 rib stitch for one inch or until you‘re tired of knitting it.

Now, working in St st, continue to knit until the sock measures 4 inches from the top. (And yes, I know what you are thinking, “It’s just a freaking square. I wanted a sock, not a wonky dishcloth. WTF!” Just hang in there with me, its about to get interesting.)

Dividing Section
 
 First row: Knit the first 11 (13,14,16,17) stitches. Place these stitches on a stitch holder. Now continue knitting to the end of the row.

Next row: Knit 11 (13, 14, 16, 17) stitches. Place these stitches on a stitch holder.

At this point you should have 22 (26, 28, 32, 34) stitches left on the needle. These stitches will become your instep or top half of your foot. *(Please note- it is from this dividing point that you will measure for your foot length.)

With 22 (26, 28, 32, 34) stitches now on your needle, continue in St st until the piece measures 1 ½ to 2 inches less then your desired total foot length. (You are going to start the next row with the right side facing you. You have been warned!)

Touch Your Toes
 
 Row 1: (RS) k1, ssk, knit to the last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.

Row 2: Purl

Repeat these two rows until there are 11 (13, 14, 16, 17) stitches remain. Ending again with right side facing you.

Row 3: (RS) k1, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1

Row 4: P1, p2tog, purl to last 3 stitches, p2tog tbl, p1.

Continue these two rows until 6 ( 7, 7, 8, 8 ) stitches remain.

Place these stitches on a stitch holder. Cut yarn leaving a nice tail for weaving.

(See, that was painless. Now for the fun part!)

Take the stitches that have been hanging out on the other two stitch holders, and with both right side facing you, place these stitches onto your needle.

Knit one row. Then purl the next row. (I know, amazing instructions there, right?)

Heel Flap Time
 
 Row 1: (RS) *Sl 1 pwise with yarn in back (wyb), k1; rep from*

Row 2: Sl 1 pwise, with yarn in front (WYF), purl to the end.

Repeat these two rows until a total of 22 (26, 28, 32, 34) rows have been made. (And yes, the number of stitches you have on the needle right now is the same as the number of rows you knit for the heel flap. It was a total freaking mind-blowing epiphany when I realized that!)

Let’s Take This Heel For A Turn
 
 Row 1: (RS) K13 (15, 16, 18, 19) stitches, ssk, k1, turn your work.

Row 2: (WS) Sl 1 pwise, p5, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 3: Sl 1 pwise, knit to the 1st stitch before the gap made from the pervious row, ssk using the 1st stitch before the gap and the 1st stitch right after the gap, K1, turn.

Row 4: Sl 1 pwise, purl to the 1st stitch before the gap, p2tog using the 1st stitch both before and after the gap, p1, turn.

Now repeat rows 3 and 4 until all the stitches have been worked. Do NOT freak out if you find that you can not end with a k1 or p1 in your repeats. Depending on your initial cast on number, you may end that last repeat with a ssk or a p2tog. Make sure to end with the right side facing you.

Guess What? It’s Gusset Time!
 
 For this gusset, you will be picking up one extra stitch at the selvage edge corner. This will help eliminate that nasty hole at the base of the gusset. Don’t you worry, you will make these extra two stitches disappear shortly after both sides of the gusset in done.
 
(Of course you can knit this section without the two extra stitches and it will still turn out just fine. I just have a bit of a pointy ankle bone, so those two extra stitches keep my ankle from looking like its trying to escape.)

Now, using the needle that your stitches are already on, pick up 12 (14, 15, 17, 18 ) stitches along the salvage edge. Now knit across these stitches and the stitches that were already on your needle.

Once you reach the end of the row, with the same needle, pick up 12 (14, 15, 17, 18 ) stitches on the other side of the salvaged edge. Now, purl across all stitches. (Your stitches will feel and look a bit bunched up on your needles, but don’t fret. Things will start to loosen up in a bit here.)

Knit 11 (13, 14, 16, 17 ) stitches, ssk, knit across heel turn stitches, k2tog, then knit the remaining 11 (13, 14, 16, 17 ) stitches.

Next row: Purl

(See, I told you that you would send those two extra stitches away!)

Row 1: (RS) k1, ssk, knit to last 3, k2tog, k1.

Row 2: Purl

Repeat these two rows until 22 (26, 28, 32, 34 ) stitches remain.

Now continue in straight St st until piece measures 1 ½ to 2 inches less then your desired foot length.

Toe Time!
 
 Row 1: (RS) k1, ssk, knit to the last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.

Row 2: Purl

Repeat these two rows until there are 11 (13, 14, 16, 17 ) stitches remain. Ending again with right side facing you.

Row 3: (RS) k1, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1

Row 4: P1, p2tog, purl to last 3 stitches, p2tog tbl, p1.

Continue these two rows until 6 ( 7, 7, 8, 8 ) stitches remain.

Gaft these stitches with the others you have sitting on the stitch holder.

Now you have some hand sewing to do. No moaning allowed. It’s not as hard as you think.

To seam the sock we will NOT be using the mattress stitch and I will tell you why. *Stepping up on top of soapbox* The mattress stitch subtracts rows from the sides of the foot and the back of the leg. Also, it leaves a bulky seam that, even after you steam it down, can still be felt.

Instead, we will close the seams by using the Flat Seam, also sometimes called the Bickford Seam. It makes a flat, clean seam that is almost invisible when done correctly.

The Bickford seam is one of those things that you have to see to understand, so please stop right now, go check out an online video on how to do it, then return to your sock and seam it up. (I’ll still be here waiting when you get back. I promise.)

Once you seamed up your sock, maybe you should seriously consider knitting the other one. Socks are usually better in pairs. (If you just want to relish in your one sock glory, I’m cool with that too.)

So, you’ve got both socks knitted and seamed. Guess what? You’re done. Yup, that’s it. You’re finished. Now make like a hockey stick and get the puck out of here!

Liver Chick Knits Is Open For Business

Finally, after months of talking myself in and out of it, I got my store up and running on Etsy.

It is a place for me to sell my every growing collection of stitch markers that I keep making. (Well, it was either this or tell everyone they would be getting a set of stitch markers for Christmas.)

If the mood hits me, I may also add a few knitted items to the store around the winter holidays.

The store is still a work in progress and I will continue to add more of my stitch markers each week.

When you get a moment, head on over and take a lot. I hope you enjoy it: http://www.liverchick.etsy.com

Lace For One And All

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I’ve been knitting for over 10 years now, yet the above piece is only my second attempt at knitting lace. It’s not that I don’t like lace- I actually LOVE it. However, the knitting community can be its own worse enemy when it comes to promoting lace knitting.

The message I received as a beginning knitter was that new knitters were fools if they tried to tackle lace without years of experience. I was told that lace knitting could only be done properly by more mature ladies from the ‘old country’. I even read somewhere that if you did not have the proper respect or historical understanding of where a lace shawl came from and didn’t knit it in traditional white wool then you are being disrespectful to the lace and are better off knitting a scarf in fun fur.

So, I figured that lace knitting was something you just looked at, but you didn’t actually dare do yourself. Instead, I just did crochet lace which was apparently the only form of lace allowed to be made by the ‘common’ person. Yet, I still wanted to make knitted lace.

When the opportunity came to make a head covering for a swap on Ravelry, I looked for a crochet version but couldn’t find one that moved me. Then I stumbled upon the lace veil that I posted about before. It was beautiful and reminded me of the lace coverings I would see women wear in Catholic church. But it was knitted. And I wasn’t allowed to knit lace. “What’s going to happen? Is the lace knitting mafia is going to bust down our door and kick your ass?”, my hubby asked. No. But like telling a child they are dumb, it was hard to break through those negative thoughts that were placed in my head as a young knitter. I decided that I would use the head covering as my way to break through everything negative I ever heard or felt about knitting lace.

I cast on and knitted away. I made mistakes, but didn’t rip my work out. I knew that if I ripped out my work, then I would use it as an excuse to not restart. So, I knitted on. And before I knew it, a pattern was taking shape through my fingers. It was lumpy and messy and looked nothing like the picture, but I pressed on. When I finally did my bind off, I damped the lace with some cool water and then laid it out on a piece of felt. Gently, I pulled and pinned down the lace. It was like watching magic in slow motion but still not being able to see how the magician pulled the rabbit out of the hat. I stepped back and saw the most beautiful piece of knitting ever and then I looked down at my hands, not sure how I could have made it.

That is what they mean when they say, ‘the magic of lace’. It is that moment of awe over yarn over’s and ssk’s that some how, without you knowing it, transformed into a work of art. I realized at that moment that I would never discourage anyone, no matter what their skill level, from trying to knit lace.

Lace knitting is not as hard as it seems. Sure, there are those wedding ring lace pieces that look as if they were knitted using yarn made from spider webs. And there are those patterns that knitters brag about that took them 12 hours and day for six months to complete. (You can file that one with the same people who talk about walking to school in eight feet of snow, uphill, both ways).

Lace knitting is not for some elite group of knitters who spend their summers in Ireland and their winters studying Scandinavian art. Lace knitting is for everyone! If you can read a chart and got your handy list of knitting abbreviations nearby, then with a little time and patience, you can knit lace. Never let anyone, knitter or otherwise, discourage you from enjoying the wonderful world of lace knitting!

The Treasure

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Was at the local Goodwill thrift store with my mom yesterday. I usually don’t buy anything when I’m there. It’s not that I don’t like what they offer, but this particular Goodwill is so popular that unless you camp out at the door and run in the very minute they open, chances are all the really good finds are gone.

As usual, the place was packed, and it was a Wednesday afternoon. My mom was searching for a skirt, so I just walked around looking at the stuff in other people’s carts.

There is a small craft section on the far side wall of the store tucked into an odd corner between the kid’s toys and purses. This area is usually filled with bags of tired looking zippers and old Butterwick patterns for flower skirts. An ocassional bag filled with shower curtain rings or plastic Christmas ribbon finds its way to this area as well.

I made my way over to the area on the off-chance I might find a package of straight pins. I have plans this year to finish my quilt tops and for the life of me I don’t know where my straight needles have disappeared to.

Now in the craft section I found the usual suspects along with a bag filled with florist tape and another stuffed with scary look doll heads- the type one would use in cake decorating. I was thinking of how I could paint over the doll faces to make them look like shrunken heads for Halloween, when a long package hanging behind a bag of broken needlepoint hoops caught my eye.

I pulled the bag off the hook only to discover a similar one right behind it. With both bags in my hands, I stared down at my packages, unsure of what I was seeing. Through it’s loosely bunched plastic coverings sat in my hands two bags filled with knitting needles!

There was no time to lose. I felt a sense of urgency to get this needles to the counter and claim them as mine with my cold hard cash. ‘How could anyone have missed getting these’, I thought to myself. I have seen far too many times in stores women and men come to near blows over an item that they both wanted. Although most people at the store seemed generally nice, I was not going to take a chance of anyone seeing my discovery. I could just see the news headline now: Young Woman Stabs Stranger In Eye With #4 over Knitting Needle Dispute. So, I tried to move through the store discreetly, being careful not to bring any attention to myself or the items I were carrying.

I manged to dodge an aisle filled with several gray-haired ladies. I was sure if any of them had spotted my treasure the news headline would be: Gray Hair Granny Mafia Takes Out Store Customer, Impaled With Knitting Needle.

Safely at the checkout out counter, the bubble gum popping cashier, overly made up in a sad attempt to look older than her 17 year old true self, didn’t even look my way as I sat the needles on the counter. She was busy trying to flirt with the older bag boy in between the continuous line of customers.

The bag boy motioned to me letting the young girl know she had another customer. As the cashier began to ring up my order, I wondered if I should be kind enough to save the poor girl from her fruitless attempts at flirting by informing her that her lover boy was gay, seeing as he was wearing a gay pride necklace.  As the cashier handed my items to the bagger she said,”You buying these needles. Do you use them to crochet or something? I could never do that stuff. Maybe when I’m in my 30’s or 40’s, when old and don’t have a life anymore I might learn. It’s such an old people thing.” I decided that having her heart-broken by a gay man would be good for her.

Package paid for and hidden in the white plastic bag, I enjoyed the rest of my time shopping with my mom, knowing that this old lady with no life had scored a treasure far better than any 17 year old could imagine.