Spring Knitting

After a brief vacation from blogging, I’m back (well, at least for today).  Been quite busy with kids, knitting, etc, so blogging fell by the wayside for a bit.

Nicer weather has finally arrived, after a cool, wet spring here in Indianapolis.  I hear conflicting predictions on what the summer will bring, I’m hoping for cooler than average – last year was murderous.

Been knitting a lot (to put it mildly) and there are a lot of fun new items in the Etsy store.  We’ve been knitting many things that will work for spring and cool summer nights, like this pale yellow open weave shawl.  I love this primrose color, it’s perfect for women with delicate coloring, and 100% organic cotton makes it super soft.  This is an asymmetrical triangle and it’s super versatile, wear it as a wrap or scarf, or fold it and wrap for a sarong.  It dries in about 30 minutes if it gets wet, so it’s great for the beach.

Primrose Shawl
Primrose Shawl

We found a great buy on Noro Nobori yarn this spring, so we’ve done several different things with it.  I knit this scarf;  think this is the perfect pattern to show this yarn’s unusual texture and beautiful color changes.  This one reminds me of a zinnia garden in the summer sunshine.  Cheryl, my business partner sees fireworks.  How about you?  What do you see?

Zinnia Garden Scarf
Zinnia Garden Scarf

Cheryl knit the yarn in a different colorway, this one makes me think of a spring rainbow, cheesy I know – but how would you describe it?

This scarf is just right for women with fair, golden complexions – what we might call “Spring” or “Dressing Your Truth Type 1”.  I plan to write more about this color typing stuff in a future  post.

Spring Rainbow Scarf
Spring Rainbow Scarf

Cheryl also knit this black fishnet type rectangular scarf from organic cotton.  We found a fabulous buy on Mirasol Samp’a, 100% organically grown and dyed cotton, so we snapped up a lot – watch for lots of cool new things to appear in the shop.

I love this pattern, it’s so easy to wear, it makes a nice soft scarf, a shawl or wrap and a perfect sarong.  Do I even need to talk about the possibilities for a sexy Halloween costume?

Black Organic Cotton Scarf/Wrap/Sarong
Black Organic Cotton Scarf/Wrap/Sarong

I’d love to hear what kind of hand knits you’d like to see in our Etsy shop for spring and summer.  Please let me know through the comments if you have other ideas or know of patterns that would make useful (and beautiful) hand knit items for warmer weather.

Advertisements

Collaboration vs. Competition (and Clapotis Tips Too)

I’ve noticed something about some patterns lately that I don’t remember seeing on old, vintage patterns.

Once in a while, there will be a statement somewhere on the pattern prohibiting making the item for sale; I’ve heard these referred to as personal use only patterns.  I’ve seen this on both free patterns and patterns I’ve bought.

Now, call me crazy, but it seems to me that if I buy a pattern I should be able to do whatever I want with it (except sell it on directly, of course).  I think the time and materials I put into a knitted item, say a shawl, are quite a contribution, and give me the right to sell it, gift it, keep it, or even destroy it if I wish.

When you buy a cookbook, there isn’t a disclaimer that you can’t make cupcakes from the recipe and sell them.  The very idea is laughable, and I don’t see much difference, they are both intellectual property.

Attempting to place restrictions on the use of your creation speaks volumes about a mindset of lack and scarcity – which is not the way I choose to live.  I believe there is plenty of business for everyone.

I don’t see how it hurts the pattern designer for me to knit and sell from her pattern.  I’ve already paid for it, more people will see her designs, and that could result in more pattern sales to other knitters.

As a matter of fact, I know of at least one pattern designer, Natalie Larson, who recognizes that collaboration is a better way to do business than the old paradigm of competition.

Here’s what she says on her Star Crossed Slouchy Beret pattern page on Ravelry about knitting her patterns for sale.

If you buy the seller pattern, it allows you to sell an unlimited number of finished products. This is lifetime license with no sample knitting required. I ask that credit be given and that you provide a link from your listings to my etsy, HC and Ravelry pattern store. I will provide you with the links and exact wording. Additionally, I will link to your shop information from my stores – perhaps you’ll get some extra business!

She is a forward thinking business person.  Collaborating with other knitters will get her pattern more exposure, more word of mouth and very likely, more sales.  And it doesn’t cost her a thing. The knitter gets free marketing assistance.  Win-Win – I love that!

In news about my own knitting, I’ve received some custom orders lately.  I’m on the second one now, it’s a Clapotis in Malabrigo Rios, colorway Aguas.

Here’s a picture of the first Clapotis I knit.  This yarn is Cascade 220, the colorway is 9923.  It reminded me of a thunderstorm sky, I called it Thunderclap on my Ravlery page.

Clapotis in Cascade 220

And here’s the beginning of the new one in Malabrigo.  I’m thinking it will be spectacular.

Clapotis in Malabrigo Aguas

I find the clapotis pattern to be overly complicated as it’s written on Knitty.  Fortunately, Kim at SoulKnitting has made a wonderful checklist you can find here on her blog.  Makes the whole process very simple, just knit and check off the rows.

If you have any trouble with the checklist and can’t reach Kim feel free to contact me, I’ll email you the spreadsheet.

So, genius pattern design and easy to use instructions from someone else – see what I mean about collaboration?

What do you think about this subject?

Christmas Shopping

Today I plan to do a bit of Christmas shopping while the kids are all at school.  I have my list, and I’ve checked it twice – so, off I go.

I find it quite amusing that my husband is asking for make-up (a stage make-up kit).  I never thought I’d live to see that!

My Christmas list includes a jumbo flyer for my Ashford spinning wheel.  Today I plan to email my family a link to the one I need.  Otherwise they won’t have any idea which one to buy, and I’m sure to get the right one – hinting is good, right?

For those of you who have been thinking about ordering from the Indigo Kitty Knits Etsy shop this might be the time – we have free shipping this weekend.  This will be the last free shipping before Christmas, so if you’ve been on the fence – the time is now!  Use coupon code HAPPYHOLIDAYS2012.

There are lots of fingerless mitts, which are very affordable and so practical.  I wear my mitts all the time; it’s so convenient to be able to adjust the radio, clip on the leash, open my coffee or answer my phone without taking off my gloves. There are also many scarves, cowls, shawls, and even a hat (in Noro, of course).  You are sure to find something just right for those who like color, or neutrals, or lace, or fuzzy things, or smooth things – well, you get the idea.

Here is one more new thing in the Etsy shop that I’ve not posted on the blog yet.  It’s a pointy shawlette/scarf made of Noro (of course!).  This yarn is Silver Thaw,  which is unfortunately discontinued.  It’s wool, angora and a little nylon.  The drape and feel are lovely!  This is my current fave yarn in the world.

silver thaw wingspan

Noro has such great names for their yarns!  Did you know that Kureyon (which is probably their most popular yarn) means crayon in Japanese?  Silver Thaw makes me think of a winter woodland  full of birdsong just beginning to melt as the sun comes out after an ice storm.  Great imagery and fantastic yarns!

After An Absence

Well, I took a break from blogging and paid more attention to family concerns, but I’m back now.  I’ve been knitting a bit compulsively (my shoulder is actually a bit achy), and there are a lot of new things in my Etsy shop.

One of my latest things is this gorgeous shawl, knit in Noro Silver Thaw.  This colorway makes me think of the northern lights.  It’s an aran weight yarn and I really like the way the lacy bits came out.  It’s warm and soft, and it wouldn’t break my heart to keep it!

Silver Thaw Northern Lights shawl

We’ve also added some pretty mitts.  Here’s a pair (for petite hands) in wine and green (Noro yarn again).

wine and green noro mitts

Then there’s a pair in purple and orange (also in Noro and also for smaller hands).

orange and blue kochoran mitts 2

We’ve been knitting some entrelac.  A small pink, green, and gray one knit by Cheryl came out beautifully.  This is Noro Kochoran.

small kochoran entrelac

There’s also a larger one Cheryl knit from Noro Kochoran. Can you tell we really love Kochoran?

Large kochoran entrelac

There’s also the pointy shawlette/scarf I knit from Knitpicks Chroma.  Really happy with how it came out.  I did have some problems with the yarn.  The first ball was very short, I called Knitpicks and they very kindly sent me another ball.  They have excellent customer service!

Blue Lagoon Scarf/Shawlette

This is a large shawl knit in Noro Kureyon (hey, we aren’t partial – we love all Noro!)  Love these colors!

kureyon shawl

Cheryl wanted a break from Noro, so she knit this nubby dove gray cowl in Twinkle 100% virgin wool.

Twinkle Dove Gray Cowl

And then – back to Noro for this cowl in cool colors.

Noro Cool Cowl

My latest foster, the lovely and handsome Sheldon, was adopted recently through reTails.  Here’s a picture of him.  I miss him a lot.  He is cuddly and great with other cats, and he likes dogs – what’s not to like?  His adopters are very lucky!

Lovely Sheldon

We are taking a break from kitty fostering for a while.  My personal clowder of cats includes a couple of members who find all these “outsiders” coming and going a bit difficult to cope with!

Entrelac

I always thought entrelac would be a very difficult and advanced knitting technique.  Happy to know that I was completely wrong.  It’s actually quite easy, and a great way for me to practice something I really didn’t like – picking up stitches.  My pick up and knit/purl skills have quickly improved since beginning this project.

The pattern for this project is here and the yarn is Noro Kochoran, which is a bulky yarn.  It’s 50% wool, 30% angora, and 20% silk.  This scarf is very enjoyable to knit – simple pattern, easily understood (and almost memorized, but I do refer to pattern on one section), and the color changes make it easy to knit “one more row”.

The fat yarn makes this scarf very wide, more like a shawl or wrap than a scarf, it will be fabulous wrapped around my shoulders and held with my new sheep shawl pin (which looks super cute with any knitting).  The knitting peeks through the body of the sheep.  I’ve already received several positive comments from random citizens when I’ve worn it.

You can get one like it from the artist who makes these.  She has an Etsy shop, and also makes shawl pins shaped like kitties, doggies, mermaids, llamas, elephants, butterflies, cows, and sailboats.  I’ll bet she can do other shapes  too if you ask!  It was practically impossible to select just one, but I do love sheep, they are so calm and grounded.  Just seeing a picture of a sheep relaxes me!

I am conducting a poll about shawl pins and would love to know your answer.

I love this project so much I may keep it for myself or give to a family member.  I want to make more of these, maybe in thinner yarns, so watch for future posts on entrelac!

Renaissance Man

Craig was in the cast at the Fishers (IN) Renaissance Fair last weekend. Here’s a picture of him in his costume, looking thoughtful – very impressive.  As soon as he came home he shaved off most of that facial hair, it was driving him crazy!

The rest of the family did not attend, since it rained heavily for 24 hours before the opening, and we didn’t relish walking around a 45 degree mud field.  We’ll go next year.  We were sorry to miss the sword fight and the jousting!

I added another item to my Etsy shop yesterday.  This gorgeous Entrelac Wrap was knit by Cheryl in a fabulous Noro yarn; it’s made of wool, silk, cashmere, alpaca, angora, camel and kid mohair.  It’s super cuddly and really incredible to see and touch in person.  It would make a spectacular gift for a fashionista with a winter birthday or for Christmas.  It would also look brilliant on the back of a couch, ready to snuggle into when you are a bit chilly in the evening or on an early morning weekend (can you tell I’m a morning person?).

We have lots of fingerless gloves coming into the shop soon.  We sold out of these last year, so we are busy making more than we had in stock in 2011.  I remember one person bought several pairs and really wished we could make more in time.  So, this year, we are starting early!  I hope we can meet the demand.  Better go do some knitting…

Beginnings and Endings

I’ve been looking at a newish knitting book (published 2012), Cast On, Bind Off, subtitled 54 Step–by-Step Methods, by Leslie Ann Bestor.

What a great cover! This book contains 33 casts ons and 21 bind offs.  It seems it’s easier to begin a knitting project than to finish one!  I know I start more than I complete.  My UFO pile (unfinished objects for you non-knitters) grows continously.  Maybe someday I will take a couple of hours and rip all that stuff out, as I’m obviously not going to finish most of them.  I have good intentions, but if something sits incomplete for over a year, the bloom is kind of gone for me.

The first cast on I learned, the Backward Loop, is in this book, of course, as it’s probably the cast on everyone used to learn first – although it’s certainly not the “best”.  It’s easy to do, but really shouldn’t be a commonly used beginning for almost anyone, it’s main use is adding stitches to a work already in progress.  I didn’t learn that for a while and my early projects have pretty cruddy beginning edges.

For a long time I used a plain Long Tail cast on, and that became my very favorite, until I began making a lot of items for which the pattern began “cast on 307 stitches” or some similar number.  I quickly got tired of running out of yarn before I got all stitches cast on, so I knew some other method had to be more appropriate for things like this. Nowadays  I almost always use a Knitted cast on, which I find easy to do, depending on the yarn, and I also like the edge it forms.  It’s not terifically stretchy, but for scarfs, cowls, shawls, etc. I like it very much.

I am intrigued by the Old Norwegian cast  on (which I had never hear of) presented in this book .  It’s very elastic and had a neat edge, it’s recommended for cuffs, mittens, gloves and hats – places where a stretchy start is ideal.  I did try it, but I did not find it very easy to do, it’s quite fiddly and will definitely take some practice for me.

For socks (which I always knit toe up), I use the Turkish  cast on, also known as Middle Eastern cast on, which is also outlined in this book.  I find it easy to do and I love the way it looks on the toe of a sock.  And it makes me feel so clever!

There’s a good section on provisional cast ons (which I truly hate because I find them so difficult).  Maybe I’ll eventually get to be an expert at those also.

Bind offs are also here, including my new favorite for lace, the every so boringly named Elastic bind off.  I tried it when finishing a shawl and liked the way it allowed the edge to expand and really look it’s best.

I just wonder how necessary this book really is in a knitter’s library, thanks to YouTube, there are even a lot of videos there of the Old Norwegian cast on out there.

If you are a book lover like me, maybe you will enjoy having a book with all this information on your shelves.

I finished the Wingspan shawl.  I knit this from 2 skeins of Noro Silver Thaw, which gave me enough yarn for 7 “wings”, instead of 8.  I did make some changes to the pattern, see my Ravelry project page  for details. Here’s a picture of it blocking.

I love it very much and plan to keep it for myself, which is a bit unusual for me, normally I give away or sell most of my knitting.  Can’t stand the thought of parting with this one, though!  Maybe I’ll grow tired of it, or someone will admire it enough that I think they need it more than I do.  It’s been known to happen!

I really like this pattern, I think it’s brilliant actually, and I plan to knit a lot more of these (or variations thereof) in the future.  It’s easy to understand and memorize, no need for a pattern after you choose a yarn, decide how many stitches to use, and get it cast on.  That’s my kind of project.

I have a gift card for a local yarn store burning a hole in my pocket (many thanks to Sandy S for her wonderfully generous birthday gift last time!), maybe I’ll stock up on yarns for Wingspan.  I’m thinking Mini-Mochi, more Noro, Zauberball….

Current knitting is a scarf for sale in Rowan Colourscape, Frosty colorway.  It’s gorgeous – how can it not be with that fabulous yarn?  Should be done in just a couple of days.  That’s another pattern type I love – quick ones!

I leave you with a picture of the next yarns I plan to knit.  I’d love to hear any pattern ideas anyone has for these wonderful yarns.  This group includes 3 skeins of Noro Transitions (in a cream, tan, blue, green colorway), 1 skein of Rowan Colourscape (Heath colorway), and 6 skeins of Noro Blossom (in a blue-y colorway).