Random Thursday

1. The Husband Sweater Project is moving at snail’s pace. Not because I am bored of the sea of stockinette stitch, but because I am not getting enough time for knitting. Whatever little time I get, I am investing on the new design, so the sweater has taken a back seat. Add to it the fact that summer has set in this part of the world, so I want to be as far away from wool as humanly possible. I am sure it will get done by November. I think. I hope.

2. I started my new job and still settling down in the new place. It has not sunk in yet.

3. For the very first time, I have two designs tested and ready to be released. That doesn’t happen often and I am in a huge dilemma as to which one to release first. Not a big deal, but, you know, first world problems.

4. I am working on a new design as we speak (see note #1) and am super excited about it. It is a shawl that should go with my Punto Hat and Cowl. I love the asymmetric shape, if I say so myself.

5. I have been using Feedly as my RSS reader after Google Reader’s demise (actually I never used Reader, but once it died, Feedly was the talk of the town, so I decided to give it a try and I liked it). I usually catch up at work and during my 1-week break between jobs, I never read Feedly, so I am far behind and need to catch up. The plus point is I get to read posts without having to wonder when the blogger will post again. Case in point: Yarn Halot’s blog: 10 unread posts. Score!

6. On the sewing front, Pony finally stocks Quilting Rulers now and I bought one for myself. I am yet to put it to use, so keeping my fingers crossed that the rotary cutter will now stop being such a pain.

Random Monday

1. The Husband’s Sweater Project is chugging along. I have split the body and sleeves and preparing myself for the imminent never-ending,  boring stockinette. No, don’t get me wrong, I love stockinette. It is mindless knitting which makes it perfect for multi-tasking with TV watching, but I shudder when I imagine how long the body needs to be (tall husband is tall).

2. A shawl design I had submitted for a collection didn’t work out. This was a first for me and I was very low. I learnt a lot of lessons from this experience. Good news is they are ready to publish this design outside of the collection, so all is not lost. But I wonder what they think of me. After all, first impression is the best one and I kind of messed it up.

3. I am switching jobs in 2 weeks time. My current job was great for me as a mother and a knitter. My office was 5 minutes away and I would come home for lunch to spend time with N. Short commuting time meant lot of knitting time at home. Alas, this luxury is coming to an end and I may not find any knitting time on weekdays. You must think I am crazy to quit such a great job, but there are other things to consider in a job than just the commuting time.

4. I have made absolutely no progress on the sewing and quilting front. This reminds me I still haven’t blogged about my drawstring bag.

5. You know the kid is a knitter’s kid when he says ‘Y for Yarn’ while playing the alphabets game. And his friends ask him what’s yarn and he goes on to explain what yarn is and what it is used for. Also the fact that he sees the merry-go-round in the play area and suddenly gets an idea that we can use that instead of the swift to wind yarn.

The Husband’s Sweater Project

My husband has been very supportive of my knitting hobby. He takes pleasure in being involved with my knitting in any way he can. He helps me winds yarn, comments on my knitting, gives his opinion when I can’t take decisions and in general is very appreciative of my hobby. When such a sweet guy requests you for a hand knit sweater, you don’t make him wait for 3 years, do you? Which is exactly what I did. Every year, his birthday whooshes by and I drown in my own guilt and vow to finish his sweater by his next birthday, only for it pass whooshing by without a completed sweater in my hand. I decided to take the bull by its horns and start working on it at the beginning of the year itself so that I have a good 11 months to knit this sweater.

Thus was born The Husband’s Sweater Project. After going over the Ravelry pattern database, I decided to make up my own pattern. Husband wants a plain pullover (cables would be nice, but I am bored of knitting cables), so I decided to make a basic top-down raglan. I love top-down because one can try them as you go and raglan is easy to calculate (for me).

Actual measurements:

Neck opening: 15″
Chest: 33″
Armhole Depth (Measured straight down the chest, not slanted): 9″
Upper arm circumference: 12.8″

I am planning a positive ease of 2-3 inches, so I am aiming for a finished measurement of 35-36 inches.

I made a swatch and got the gauge: 17 sts x 21 rows = 4″, post blocked.

Now that I had all the numbers I need, I opened up a spreadsheet and fed these numbers in.

After entering the standard raglan calculations, I ended up with these numbers.

This should give me a sweater with 16″ neck opening, 35.5″ chest and 9.8″ armhole depth. Next step is casting on. Stay tuned as I blog about my journey which I call The Husband’s Sweater Project.

Random Monday

I am shamelessly stealing the idea (and the title) for this post from Yarn Harlot’s blog. When I don’t have any meaty content to make up an entire blog post, but have some tidbits to share, labeling the post as ‘random’ makes great sense. So, randomly, here is what I have been up to.

1. The first design of the year is off the needles, blocked and ready for test knit. A half-circle shawl with colorwork and it turned out beautiful, if I say so myself. I will be posting a call for test knitters on my group in the next few hours.

2. I took a day off work on Friday (which was a big deal for me, since I don’t take leave unless for a very good reason) to chill off. I made it a sewing day and completed my first sewing FO of the year. I followed the Kristin Link’s Craftsy class and made the Drawstring Bag. It turned out better than I expected. Post on that coming soon.

3. I also started my first quilt. I decided to tackle the herringbone quilt and decided to make my squares not too tiny. I cut out and sewed 6 squares so far. 18 more to go.

4. There are too many ‘firsts’ in this post.

5. I bought myself a new rotary cutter and a self-healing mat from Pony since I wanted to do some serious sewing/quilting. Turns out I am not so good at cutting. My blade cuts at some places and leaves the fabric uncut at some. I am blaming it on my not possessing a quilting ruler. So, that is next on my shopping list. Unfortunately, Pony doesn’t stock it (yet) and I don’t know where to find one in India.


Tanvi: Update

Tanvi by Anjali M.

I sent out an update to Tanvi on Ravelry last week. There were one error in the intro text (or the romance text as it is called) which said that the sleeves are knit after the body, while the actual pattern instructions were to bind off the sleeves when the yoke is complete. I got a question about this from a customer and I had to correct this error and send out an update.

This also gave me the chance to migrate this pattern to my new template. I searched high and low for resources for creating/buying templates and finally zeroed in on this MS Publisher template. I customized it heavily to suit my needs and I like how it turned out. I have been using this for all my new patterns and I like how easy it is to change the colors with just one click. I have stopped using MS Word for pattern editing and rely heavily on Publisher now. Here is my jazzy, new template. What do you think?

Birthday Club 2014

I am shamelessly copying this idea from other fellow designers. I have been part of this on a few designers’ groups and loved this idea so much that I couldn’t wait for the new year to begin so that I can start my own birthday club in my group (whoa, that is one long-winded sentence).

The idea is quite simple, really. Sign up for the club by letting us know your birthday. We don’t need your birth year, just the date and month. I will choose a small gift every month and send out this gift to all the people celebrating their birthdays that month. The gift could be any of my pattern offered free, a coupon discount, a pattern from any other designer, handmade stitch markers, may be yarn, who knows. Sign-ups never close, so you can sign up any time you wish.

Here is the sign-up thread.

Meetup: First of the Year

There is an active crafters group here in Bangalore. I say crafters because we get to see all kind of crafts like crochet, knitting, sewing, quilting, quilling, spinning, painting and so on. We call ourselves the Bangalore Brigade and try to meet as often as possible, or atleast when we have a visitor in town. This time around, Rima aka yarnydays paid her family a visit and we had to meet her.

We met up at a local cafe in Bangalore where we are served food and drinks and left to our own world to chat and drool over yarn. It was a pity that only four of us could meet, considering the weather and vacation plans.

It was a lovely meet with Suma, our very own yarnie, showed us some of her sample yarns, Manasa, showing off her first design and her test knits and of course, Rima who turned out to be Santa for us, destashed loads of her yarn.

Can you spot my current design on the needles?

We chatted about anything and everything. Had good food and coffee and came away with a smile on our face. The year which got off to a wonderful start with this fabulous meet can only have better days in it, right?

2013 in Pictures

On professional and personal fronts, 2013 was about just average. Had quite a few issues on the work and family side, but there were some positives too. Knitting and reading kept me sane all through the turbulence. Here is the year that went by, in pictures.

I finally had a design published in Petite Purls, a magazine which I admire a lot. It is sad that they are closing down.

I followed it up with a design which I was personally very satisfied with. The cables posed a big challenge and I am happy I managed to overcome it.

My second adult cardigan which I was super stoked about.

I designed my very first shawl and organized my first knit-along and had lots of fun!

Participated in the super popular Gift-Along and all of us, designers and knitters alike, had loads of fun.

Here is hoping that the new year brings its share of ups and downs (more of the former and less of the latter, please). Wishing a very happy, prosperous and crafty new year to you and yours.

Interview and Giveaway

If you have been reading this blog or have been active on Ravelry in the past couple of weeks, chances are you have heard of Gift-Along. Independent designers have come together to promote one another’s designs, organize KALs and CALs and offer lots of prizes. As part of GAL promotion, I am interviewing Mindy (many of you will recognize her very popular Holden Shawlette) on the blog. There is a giveaway too!

Mindy is a US based designer with a stunning collection of shawls/shawlettes making up a majority of her designs. Her first design Holden Shawlette is immensely popular on Ravelry. She is an active blogger and tweeter. Mindy took some time off her busy schedule (holidays are around the corner too) to chat with me.

Q. What inspired you to become a designer?

What started it all was my desire to knit a shawl that had a wavy stitch pattern at the bottom. I couldn’t find an existing pattern that was what I had in mind so I set about designing it. Once I was deep in design work, I realized I really loved the design process.

Q. What aspect/phase of knit design do you enjoy the most? And which one do you enjoy the least?

I really don’t like to sit down and write the actual pattern. I’m not sure why I don’t like it, but I always leave it for the very last thing. I have a pattern to write right now, and I’m finding a lot of other things to do instead! I just need to sit down and do it. As for what I like the most, I really enjoy charting. I work from charts 99% of the time so when I have a chart that works, I know I’m ready to start knitting.

Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes

Q. Holden Shawlette is one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry. How does it feel to see your design do so well?

I had no idea when I designed Holden that it would be so well-received. It was my very first design ever. Nothing can brighten my day like receiving a kind note or comment from someone who knit Holden (or any of my patterns) telling me how much they enjoyed the knitting and how much they love their finished project.

Q. What has been your experience with GAL so far?

I haven’t been too active, but it’s been a lot of fun so far. I love seeing what other people have knit. There’s been a project or two that have blown my mind with how beautiful they are.

Strawberry Moon by Mindy Wilkes

Q. Which patterns in your store can be made as quick holiday gifts?

Almost all of them! I have a variety of shawls that can be made with one skein of yarn, and I have a variety of shawls that are made in heavier weights of yarn so they knit up pretty quick. I think my side to side shawls (Flower Moon, Strawberry Moon, and Hunter’s Moon) would be great gifts.

Q. Do you find time to knit from other designers’ patterns? Who are your favorite designers?

I don’t have a lot of time nowadays to knit other designers’ patterns since most of my knitting lately has been deadline knitting for publishing. I do occasionally start a project from someone else’s pattern. I work at a LYS, and I like to have a project that uses a yarn we carry in store. I can work on that small project when I’m working at the store. It might take me months and months to finish though. I have a ton of favorite designers. Lately, I’ve knit patterns from Bonnie Sennott and Amy Christoffers.

Q. What gifts are you making/knitting for this holiday season?

None! I rarely knit for other people. I am a completely selfish knitter. Right now, my kids believe that clothing cannot be gifts so they’re not getting anything handmade because it won’t be appreciated. Really the only thing I’ll make this holiday season will be food. Just as soon as my kitchen is finished (We’re right smack in the middle of a major remodeling project) I’ll be baking and cooking.

I hope you enjoyed this little chit-chat with Mindy. If you like her designs (who wouldn’t, ha ha), Mindy has generously agreed to offer a copy of any of her self published designs to readers of this blog.
1. All you need to do is comment on this post telling us which pattern you would like to win. Do ensure I have some way of contacting you, via email or on Ravelry, so leave an email ID or your Ravelry username.
2. Entries will close on Dec 24 2013, 12 PM IST.
3. A winner will be chosen randomly and the winner’s selected pattern will be sent to you as Ravelry gift or PDF file will be emailed to you.

All images are copyrighted to Mindy and have been used here with her permission.