Dressing Humphrey Bogart

The Sanguine Gryphon Fall 2011 pattern collection was released this week on their website. This season’s collection is presented with a Film Noir theme!

Named after some of the famous faces of the screen, the collection of patterns show off the dark seductive intrigue that is Film Noir.

I am honored that one of my sock designs was included in this wonderful collection. The socks are called Humphrey Bogart, the Hard-Boiled. Knitted in my signature two-needle sock design, these socks are perfect for those wanting to add a bit more flair to their man’s wardrobe.  If Humphrey Bogart was still alive, I’m sure he would approve of the design.

Humphrey Bogart Sock

 
A big “Thank You” to Jamie and the rest of the Sanguine Gryphon clan for al the work you put into making this collection.

I Submitted to Knitty

Well, I finally did it! At 2:00 am this morning, I submitted a design to Knitty for consideration in their Winter 2011 issue. It took a lot of guts- and a good pattern- for me to actually submit a design.

I checked over the application process about twenty times and reviewed my work over and over again. The hardest part was to actually will myself to press the ‘send’ button. Prayers were made, good vibes sent out to the universe, faux rabbit foot rubbed and anything else I could think of was done before I could bring myself to sending off my design. (I also considered dancing around a fire and offering up a sacrifice to the gods, but my father-in-law would have been very upset if I started the grill at two in the morning and burnt one of his good steaks).

Why such the big fuss over this submission? Well, its Knitty! I mean, so many designers got their start on Knitty. They have helped to launch numerous careers with almost overnight success for some people.

After my twitchy finger over ruled my fear and the ‘send’ button was pressed, it was both a relief as well as a new fear- Rejection. Yes, there is that chance that my design, like many others, will be rejected by Knitty. So, I came up with a plan B for myself in case that happens. I will of course, use my reject as a great excuse to have a drink and then since I have pictures and a pattern all ready to go, I’ll just convert everything to PDF and post the pattern for sale on Ravelry.

I must say, it was very calming to receive that sweet autoreply message from Amy, (head honcho of Knitty), after submitting my design.

Don’t know Knitty? You can check outthe online magazine here: http://www.knitty.com

 

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

 
 

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

It is time to celebrate. I checked my emails last night and what did I find? Why this adorable note sent to me by the good people over at Sanguine Gryphon:

Michelle,
We are very interested in publishing your sock design, and I would like to have the opportunity to discuss the design process with you.

 
Please call when you can, xxx-xxx-xxxx.  
Cheers,

Jamie

 Sqeels of excitement along with lots of childish jumping around followed the reading of this email. My  first sock design accepted. I shall frame this email and I will love it and squeeze it and hug it and call it George.

I called dear beautiful Jamie who talked to me about the details of the project. Now I wait for the contract and yarn to arrive. *Liver Chick gets up from laptop and does a happy dance once around the room”

Oh, by the way, my sock design I submitted for Clotheshorse was rejected the very same day. Go figure!

 

Sock Design Sunday: Absinthe

Absinthe, also known as the ‘green fairy’, is an alcoholic drink famously portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug. It is also the name of a really cool sock design by Sara Morris.

Make sure to click on th picture below to go to the pattern for this sock.

Absinthe Sock By Sara Morris

Has The Dust Cleared Yet?

Well, I don’t want to jinks myself, but it would seem that life has finally settled down for the time being.

I am more than happy to be seeing the month of May’s ass walking away from me. It was a bad time and we are much better off parting ways with each other.

June seems to hold a bit more promise. I got an early gift from June in the form of my very first ever Jury Duty Summon!

Socking as it may seem, yes it is my very first time up for jury duty. You think that’s strange, my mom is 63 years old and has never been called for jury duty! She has even called and asked to be put on the list and still no luck.

I’ve been serious about turning in my sock designs for consideration into various knitting magazines, hence th lack of patterns being posted as I am waiting to see if any of my designs have been accepted.

I’ve only let one deadline slip through my fingers, mainly due to poor time management and that whole little bit of moving from one state to the other.

Now all my stash is finally in one place and my life- though not taking the shape I had hoped- is starting to take on something that could pass for normal.

So, what’s on my needles now?

I’m working on something wooly that i hope to turn in to Knitty.com for consideration. Sorry, must continue with the secrets. But I can tell you that I’m halfway through spinning that baby poo green fiber and when it’s all spun I plan to knit a pair of socks knitting it straight from the spindle. Yup, I’m going to knit it without washing the yarn and relaxing the twist. I want those twist to be alive and wirery. It should be fun.

Socks Fit For A Duchess

Surprisingly, I managed to stay up and watch the whole royal wedding. It was an awesome sight. I’m a huge fan of the Queen, so while everyone else was wondering what the bride was wearing, I got all giddy seeing the Queen in her elegant spring time yellow attire.

However, the day was not about the Queen, but instead it was about the future of the monarchy the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

I, like so many women (and some well figured men), will now be on the hunt for that form-fitting gown worn, not by the bride, but by Pippa, the bridesmaid. As soon as I saw the dress I text my Boy Toy, “Pippa’s Dress, I Want It!”

Surprisingly, through the last night to early morning hours of watching the ceremony, the drugged feeling from my pain killers, and the pain of my sickle cell crisis, I managed to finish the royal sock that I promised you.

The sock is made with size 10 crochet cotton held doubled and knitted on two straight needles. (of course!) The jewelry used was 4mm pink beads and an antique button. Very danity and elegant. I was really hoping to make one dripping in diamonds and gold, but the bank laughed at me when I asked them for a loan for that very purpose.

So, now it is with great pleasure that I present to you my tribute to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, the Royal Wedding Sock:

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: You Got Skills!

All this week my postings are a part of the 2nd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. To learn more about it, just click here.

My Very First Two Needle Sock

Looking back on where I was this time last year, I am just amazed at just how much I’ve grown in regards to my knitting.

If you had told me last year that by this time I would have a pattern available on Ravelry, I would have laughed in your face. What started off as just me taking on another knitting challenge to conquer by knitting my first pair of socks, has now turned into a passion of wanting to make and promote two needle sock knitting. 

I can still remember being frustrated at how I was all thumbs trying to knit a sock on double-pointed needles. And how jealous I was watching Cookie A working on her latest sock at the local knitting group. She could make almost any sock yarn her bitch and I wanted to be able to do that.

I watched every YouTube video I could find on how to knit socks using various methods. I tried toe up and top down, sideways, knitting loom and even crochet. It was some random obscure pattern that I ran across online that finally made it all come together for me. Child socks knitted on two needles with a seam down the back and on the sides. Pure magic! 

After knitting my first sock with this pattern everything just started to make sense for me. I studied other sock patterns, learning about sock history and sock construction. Soon I was able to read a top down sock pattern and be able to convert it into a two needle pattern. Now, I have sketch books  full of ideas and thoughts of publishing my own book of two needle sock designs!

A Recent Sock Design

I have learned and grown a lot. But I am nowhere near considering myself an expert by any means.  I am not ashamed to confess that there are still things I have yet to learn in knitting. My lace knitting is a true testament to resisting the urge to frog. I still have never done a cable pattern. My  I-cords look more like I-won’ts. And no matter how hard I try, I suck at Faire Isle.

The wonderful thing about the needle arts is that you are encouraged to always keep growing and learning and just when you think you’ve learned it all, there is always something new just waiting around the bin.

So, what new skills / techniques have you learned this past year?

First Sock Design Rejection

Well, last week I got my first sock pattern rejected by the online knitting and crochet magazine, Tangled.   It was the Sunset In Sedona sock that I posted on the site Sunday.

I figured that as I make and submit socks for consideration in magazines, any that get rejected will be posted on Ravelry for all of you to enjoy.

It’s odd, but I don’t feel at all bad about being rejected. I was able to create a pair of wonderful socks in a yarn that I love  and I finally sat down a wrote out a sock pattern- which wasn’t too painful. The best part is that I got to share it with all of you. So that makes me happy.

One of my friends jokingly congratulated me on my rejection. “Your first rejection? That’s great! Now you’re just two more rejections away from being offered a book deal.”

Well, it would be nice if that happened. But until then, I’ll just keep knitting more socks and seeing where this yarn covered road takes me.

Sock Knitter Interview: Mary the Hobbit

If there is one thing I love more then sock knitting, it’s talking to other knitters about sock knitting. I sent a call out for knitters who would like to be interviewed and a few brave souls responded. So, please enjoy the following interview with Mary the Hobbit-

Please tell us your name, where you live and any special talent(s) you have, (other then knitting)?

My nom de chaussette is Mary the Hobbit. I live in Reno now after working in Silicon Valley for 25 years as a computer programmer. I have an affinity for languages – studied Russian in college, and Japanese was an obsession for several years. I wrote a blog called Language Geek for awhile until the knitting bug bit. Also I have a serious book collection of translations of The Hobbit, hence the name.

How long have you been knitting? Who taught you how to knit?

My mother taught me to knit when I was little. In northern Wisconsin where I grew up, knitting was a fun thing to do in winter. After college I was working and living in California. When we moved to Reno 5 years ago I decided to knit a throw for the new living room, started visiting yarn shops, and discovered all the wonderful yarns that have appeared since I last checked 30 years ago.

When did you start knitting socks?
Tell us about the first pair of socks you ever knitted? (What pattern did you use? Who did you make them for?)

I was looking for interesting projects to feed my new knitting obsession. As a girl I knit mittens on 3 needles but I’d never tried socks. So I got a book of sock patterns, I think it was Vogue’s Socks Two, and gave it a try with some purple and blue Red Heart yarn. They turned out clunky and enormous. Another early attempt was ribbed socks for The Spouse made with cotton/bamboo yarn because he thought wool was scratchy. Ha – little did he know that 2 years later he’d be begging for more wool socks!

Where are those socks now? (i.e., in your drawer, frogged, in sock heaven?)

I don’t wear the Red Heart horrors, but sometimes I show them to students as an example of a first attempt at sock-knitting. Kind of a before and after thing – it’s clumsy at first but with practice you too can make fine socks that fit.

What made you decide to become a designer?

It’s been an evolving thing. First I knit a few socks, then I knit some more socks, bought more sock yarn, knit more interesting and complicated sock patterns, bought lots of colorful sock yarn, bought and read sock books, started tweaking sock patterns, went to Sock Summit, learned new sock knitting techniques, and eventually it turned into designing socks for fun. The first pattern I ever published was my Seriously Southwestern Socks and they were/are free. I didn’t start selling patterns for awhile because I didn’t think they were worthy.

What was the first design you ever sold?

I don’t consider myself a Real Designer yet, because I’ve only sold patterns on Ravelry. Also I have no blog (sigh), which is de rigueur for Real Designers IMO.

What advice would you give to other aspiring designers?

Learn as much as you can about different techniques and architectures and yarns and experiment with them, so you have lots of possibilities for expressing your idea. When you have a design, make a good-looking sample and use it to market your pattern.

What are your most treasured pair (or set) of knitting needles that you own? Tell us why?

I have some Lantern Moon bamboo dpns, size 1, that I used for my first dozen or more pairs of socks. They’re bent and battered but I still love them, even though I mostly use Addi Turbo circs these days.

Where is the furthest your knitting has ever traveled?

Birmingham, Alabama – The Spouse and I participated in the Mustangs Across America event, and I knit a pair of socks in the car.

If you were a yarn, what type and color would you be?

I would be a multicolor blue/purple Malabrigo Sock yarn, soft and fine.

Fantasy knitting- If you could knit something for anybody (dead, alive or fictional), who would it be and what would you knit for them?

I would knit some thick warm socks for Strider (Aragorn) of Lord of the Rings, because he spent all those years as a Ranger in the wilderness of Middle-Earth, protecting Hobbits from evil creatures.

What’s on your knitting needle(s) right now?

I’m working on Yet Another sock design, of course! I keep swatching with different yarns, trying to get the right effect. For some reason, each swatch looks like a sock toe!

Some people just can’t seem to understand why in this day anyone would ever think of knitting socks. So, I’ll ask you the question sock knitters get all too often- Why would anyone waste their time knitting socks when you can get a 12-pack for five bucks at Wal-Mart?

Anybody who asks that question misses the point, which is not to obtain cheap thow-away socks. Knitting socks is a hobby that fulfills many needs: for relaxing activity, for a feeling of accomplishment (look what I made!), for self-expression, for creative impulses (what would this pattern look like with that yarn?), and of course, for comfy socks!

Could you please provide a link to your website, blog, Flickr, Facebook, Ravelry or Twitter, or all of the above.

This is embarrassing, but I have no blog. I keep meaning to start one but am easily distracted by new shiny yarn and pattern ideas. My Ravelry designer page is http://www.ravelry.com/designers/mary-the-hobbit.

Thank you Mary for giving your time and giving your talent to the world of knitting!