Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Birth of a knitting pattern - part 1: ideas!

Ever wondered how I make it from nothingness to a published pattern? I guess you're all curious and answered yes! Today I'm going to start a series of posts giving an insight of what's behind those PDF files you can purchase from my store.

First step and probably most important as nothing is possible without it: finding the striking idea that will make a great original pattern.

Usually the most powerful ideas come when you don't think hard about finding one. So, always have a notebook or a sheet of paper and a pencil with you! I have found out my top moment is when I wake up. Yay! Sweet dreams about beautiful knitted socks and fun washcloths. As a consequence, breakfast often turns into doodling.

author at the kitchen table doodling, sketching, a design for a crochet pattern

Here I am while waiting for milk to heat. No the pastry wasn't my inspiration that day. Side note as I know someone's going to ask, I'm wearing a Gentle Aran sweater. And my water jug is dressed in a cozy adapted from Rabbit in the Brambles Tea Cozy.

Now back to our matter of the day. How to keep track of ideas? My favorite way is to sketch. It gives you an idea about the finished look... and the feasibility of the project you're dreaming about. When you want to design a pair of socks, you'd better give up if you need at least 100 stitches to transcribe your idea or you have to find a way to simplify it.

If you have a very creative brain like I do, you'll end with dozens of little papers with potential designs. Time for selection. At the moment I'm working on three kind of patterns:

- Fauna and Flora items: a way to show my love for animals and nature.
- Fruity socks: a common theme has benefits, like the day you decide to buy an ad space to promote your socks it's much easier if you have a consistant sock range. 
- Christmas designs: I hope to have a few available until the time comes for most people to think about knitting that kind of stuff. Christmas being my favorite holiday I can't miss it. And it's the opportunity to start my own Christmas knitting early.

When going to the next step, I'll choose a little paper with a project that fits into one of the three categories listed above and keep the other ideas in a sleeve. I won't design fruit themed socks forever. One day there might be something useful in the archives.

Soon, I'll tell you about step 2: stay tuned!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Lambton top: all done!

lambton top jane austen knits in sunny colors and purple finished
I finally made it: My Lambton Top came off the needles this weekend.  

Remember I told you it was boring? Well I decided to fight the boredom!

I took it to the knitting group a second time. I didn't make a lot of progress there. I was busier chatting while eating cake and drinking tea than knitting.

The real great idea I had was to borrow a set of Merlin DVDs. I'm completely addicted. So I've spent all evenings last week immersed in young Merlin's adventures knitting on this sweater.

lambton top jane austen knits in sunny colors and purple finished modeled by Lea Bronnenkant
And great news, it fits perfectly. It was well worth all the shaping.

I never knitted any sweater with that much shaping before: bust, waist and plenty of short rows for the unending puffed sleeved.

lambton top jane austen knits in sunny colors and purple close up on neckline
I made only one change to the pattern. I casted on less stitches and added a third stripe to the collar. I'm happy with it, the neckline would have been too deep otherwise.

lambton top jane austen knits in sunny colors and purple close up on ribbingFinally a word about the yarn. This Drops Muskat soft is perfectly soft and those colors look lovel with the little stripes. A shame my retailer doesn't carry it any longer. Good I have a couple more colorways in my stash.
lambton top jane austen knits in sunny colors and purple close up on puffed sleeves trim
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Etsy treasuries of the week #1.

Like many crafters, I love to spend time on Etsy browsing listings. I have also listed my patterns in my Cute knit and crochet patterns store (however, there aren't any crochet patterns yet). The goal of this weekly series is to spend some good time drooling over others creations.

So picture heavy post without my usual chatter... Just click on the pictures to see the complete listing.

First, a list of items I put together: this week it's all about the Easter Bunny. Second, a list I had a crush on. Guess why Bright and Beautiful? Yep, pink and yellow brightness, I love that!

'Hop, Hop, Easter Bunny!' by lea67000

A list of items featuring the Easter Bunny!

Golden Bunny with B...

Children picture wi...

Easter Bunny Rabbit...

Lulu's Pudgy Bu...

Decorations - Easte...

Funny Greeting Card...

Vintage Papier Mach...

Mrs. EasterBunny - ...

3 to 6m Purple Baby...

5 Old Chalkware Rab...

Knit bunny ,Knitted...

Easter Bunny Shirt ...

Colorful Wooden Puz...

Amigurumi Pattern &...

Easter Bunny Pillow...

Easter Egg Brooch B...

'Bright and Beautiful!' by sierra559

Halter Top, Bright ...

Flowers on Water ...

FLORENCE - funky bo...

Snap Pop Fat Quarte...

Bouquet Clutch Bag ...

Yellow Painted Guit...

Mint Green Alabaste...

Yellow Dress - Pink...

Bird Painting. Orig...

Beaded Keychain. Ha...

Hand Crocheted Wome...

Watercolor of Color...

Metallic Photograph...

Polished Tsumami Ka...

Gift Card Holder, C...

Pillowcase Dress - ...

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday randomness #2.

knee high socks in shire string by younger yarn pure merino wool with spider and lace pattern

1. This weekend is Hogsmeade Weekend in the HPKCHC on Ravelry. This means we'll craft, chat and have fun together. This also means there's a sale in most members' shops. If you want to buy one of my patterns, there's a 30% discount until Sunday (24 February 2013) night. To get the discount, you must buy one or more patterns from my Ravelry Pattern Store and when you check out enter Coupon Code: HOGSMEADE2013.

2. It's a very cold weekend with a bit snow too. So I took my favorite knee socks out of the closet. The pattern is Itsy Bitsy Spider And A Big One, and the yarn is the softest of soft merino yarns: Younger Yarn Shire String. When I knitted those up last summer there was like 30°C outside...

seed beads in shiny blue color, 2.6 millimeters
3. My no buying yarn resolutions are doing well so far. I've purchased no single yard this week. And I remind you I'm even giving away 2 skeins there are a few days only left to leave a comment and try to get them.

4. If I haven't bought any yarn, I picked up some beads at the crafts store. I have secret plans to use them. I can't tell you more yet but I love love love the color.

5. To finish, let me share a yummy vegan treat with you! Very easy to make. You just need to mix:

- half a cup of oatmeal lightly roasted in a bit olive oil.
- 2 table spoons smooth peanut butter.
- 2 table spoons chopped dried dates.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Colorful oblong Christmas ornaments.

four pine cone fair isle knitted ornaments with present, candle, christmas tree and angel face
No you weren't subject to hallucinations while reading the title of this post: I'm really going to tell you about Christmas ornaments.

Today it's cold, it's windy, and it's even so windy it's very cold outside. Who says cold gets me into the Christmas spirit. Anyways, it's never too early to start knitting for the holidays season. Remember last year all these items you would have loved to knit in the last minute and couldn't find time to make? I don't know you but I have a long list of those! Next December I will have plenty of handmade ornaments for my tree (it's a small one I confess I have limited space).

This set of four was improvised in the first place and in the end I loved them so much I wrote up a detailed pattern to share.

These cute Christmas ornaments are a great way to use up your sock yarn leftovers or sock minis: each one will take you only about 25 yards all colors together. You'll also need a bit toy stuffing, size US1/2.25mm double pointed needles (or a long circular for magic loop addicts), a tapestry needle and scissors. I also suggest using a stitch marker to mark beginning of the round.

I'd say skill level is intermediate. You need to be able to knit in the round, with stranded colorwork up to 3 colors, increase and decrease. The pattern contains detailed writted instructions for shaping, colorwork charts and a useful stitch guide.

So want to make a set of those too?
Pattern is available for $3 (downloadable PDF file):  

And here they are proudly hanging (well only for a picture, I'm not that nuts to decorate my flat with Christmas ornaments in February!):

four christmas tree ornaments, stranded colorwork knitted candle, angel, present and christmas tree

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sweet Berries Washcloth pattern.

bobbles texture berry dishcloth afghan blanket squareAs you have probably noticed I love to knit squares, as well for blankets as washcloths. So after a series of colorwork designs I have decided to experiment with textures. I'm a huge cables and bobbles lover.

I'm even fascinated by bobbles. They can be large, small, scattered here and there or spread all over an item.  There's room for so many variations. They can be added to a piece of knitwear to simply create texture or to represent something like cherries... or berries! I once made a sweater with over 800 wee bobbles (you didn't even have to turn your work): I had fun from the first to the last one.

So now I give you the opportunity to play with bobbles!

bobbles texture berry dishcloth afghan blanket square

You can find it on Ravelry...

... or buy it directly for $1.99:

Happy knitting!

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Giveaway: want some yarn?

It's been time to do some spring cleaning in my stash these days and I've found something for you!

There's 1 prize consisting in this set of 2 skeins of sock yarn.

shadawyn merino fingering weight yarn sockyarn dream in shmooshy

There's 1 skein of SW Merino Sock Yarn in colorway Gandalf the Gray (100% Merino fingering weight sock yarn - 400 yards).

There's also 1 skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in colorway Cool Fire (100% Merino fingering weight sock yarn - 450 yards)

Both yarns have similar thickness and can perfectly be worked together in a project.

To enter the giveaway you MUST:

- Leave a comment under this post telling me what you would do with this yarn if you win (please enter at least a username, no anonymous please).

(Les commentaires en fran├žais me disant ce que vous feriez avec cette laine si vous gagnez sont bienvenus!)

Additional entries possible:

+1 for subscribing to the mailing list (enter your email in the box at the top of left column).
+1 for sharing this giveaway post (on Twitter, Google +, Facebook, your blog...), 1 bonus entry per social network.
+ 1 for following @woolpixie on Twitter.

Giveaway runs until February 28 midnight PST. The random number generator will choose the winner. Our lucky winner will be announced in a blog post, so make sure to check back (of course you can subscribe if you want an email notification of new posts). Yarn ships worldwide!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Randomness #1.

strasbourg snow morning tree

1. Snow. This morning I woke up to the most beautiful view: gorgeous white trees. Sadly it has already started to melt.

chickpea salad sauteed protein weat
2. Lenten resolutions. Lent season has started on Wednesday. Like every year the time for fast and do good has come. This year I have decided to not buy yarn for myself. My global goal is to destash in 2013. Having no yarn come in during 6 weeks will help. I've also decided to craft a bunch of charity projects. How many will depend on available time. Some people decide to eat more healthy or give up meat or other foods all or some days. I don't drink or smoke and chocolate I just can't give up. I'm also already a vegetarian. See, sauteed chickpeas and seitan with salad from yesterday's lunch.

sweater knitting knitted striped short sleeves cotton bust shaping
3. Work in progress. The Lambton top I have already told you about is growing. I have finally made some serious progress and finished the bust shaping. There are really a lot of increases and decreases. I hope it's going to fit my body well. Tomorrow afternoon there's a knitting group meeting and I'll take it with me. I really want to finish it before the end of the month.

card swap hpkchc swaps valentines
4. Swap. I love swaps and getting mail from all over the world, but I usually stick with the smaller ones. Postage can quickly get high when mailing international, and local partners are rare for me. With my friends from The Den group on Ravelry we have organized a Valentine's Day / friendship cards swap. I received a fabulous bunch of envelopes from Madeleine, LumosKP, Nwheatley, Marushka and Myrtle2011.