Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Year of the Dragon

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2012 is the year of the Dragon.  The Dragon is considered to be the luckiest year in the Chinese Zodiac and is the only legendary animal found in the Chinese Zodiac.  This started me thinking about the characteristics of dragons and what we fiberistas can take from them.

I'm a firm believer in expansion.  I (perhaps obsessively) take the talents I've been given and expand on them, use them to the fullest.  For example,  I took a little 9 month post-secondary tech certificate and expanded my opportunities to include working for The Cleveland Clinic and eventually teaching adult education in Medical Assisting. And even while teaching, I expanded that to include serving as a panelist for the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio State University for state curriculum in medical assisting and later as a Beta Panelist for Career-Technical Credit Transfer in the state of Ohio to provide adults with post-secondary technical certificates the opportunity to expand that into a degree program.  I milked that little 9 month tech certificate for all it was worth and made my way.  As a knitter, I initially learned to knit to help my son, who is on the Austism Spectrum, with spacial relations, small motor coordination, and anxiety relief.  Of course after that first scarf, I was smitten with knitting myself.  Initially, I was scared to move beyond rectangles. I knit scarf upon scarf and afghans for 2 years.  Then I moved to PA with my family to find appropriate autism services for our son. I found myself going from Medical Assisting Instructor/Clinical Externship Coordinator/Career Technical Credit Transfer Panelist to SAHM.  I felt out of my element. Not that I didn't LOVE getting to stay home and be with DD and help DS adjust, because I truly did. But I felt like I was in shock. I moved to a new place, with no friends. I didn't have a fulltime job for the first time in 12 years. It felt strange. Then I met my local knitting community and found Ravelry.

In the past 4 yrs, I've pushed myself - using the same philosophy I used for work, to learn new skills in knitting. I tried out dyeing yarn. I made my own stitch markers. I learned (and didn't care for) Entrelac. I bought a spindle. It's been another exercise in expansion.

So right now, you may be asking what any of this has to do with Dragons? Okay, here goes. Dragons, being mythical creatures, don't have documented characteristics, per se. But according to the Chinese Zodiac, those born during the year of the Dragon possess certain qualities (which I gather the Chinese derived from their characterization of Dragons). These qualities include: might, dominance, ambitious, driven, willing to take risks, successful, passionate, enthusiastic, colorful, willing to help others, and loyal.  Dragons are typically creative and in leadership roles.  And WATER Dragons (this year's Dragon) can typically see things from others' points of view and  work with others to find successful solutions to any problem.

Okay fiber pals.  It's time to tap into our inner Dragons. I've recently started designing. I'm not terrific at it. I need practice to develop my design skills, but it hasn't stopped me from doing so. And in this year of the Dragon, I will passionately pursue my goals of designing and spinning. I will help others who need help.  I will assume a leadership role in the knitting community by reaching out to new fiberistas and helping them to expand upon their passions. I will continue to learn, to grow, to practice - and even if that means falling flat on my face (or bum), I'll keep going.  I WILL take risks.  I will succeed at meeting my own goals.

So this year, I challenge you all to be Dragons. Go dye some yarn. Learn to spin. Pick up a crochet hook or a pair of knitting needles for the first time. Design something. Learn a new hobby or technique. Practice with utter passion. Succeed in meeting your own personal goals. We only have one life to live. Live it to the fullest. You'll never regret it.


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Interview Shorts From Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, 2012






Unfortunately, the sound is very quiet. You may need to adjust the volume on your viewing device. :)


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Will I EVER Record My Podcast?!



Howdy, all.  It feels like FOR-EV-ER since I've podcasted.  Unfortunately, I'm still really sick with this cold-turned-upper respiratory infection.  Although I'm feeling much better, I can't stop coughing.  - Needless-to-say, recording a podcast is a no-go.  Otherwise, more than half of my podcast would be me coughing on screen.  I have so, so, so much to share with y'all.  I can't wait to record.  Thanks for hangin' in there with me!

Until I record next, I think I'll put together a little bonus video of interviews I recorded at Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival.  I was going to tack those onto the end of my podcast recording, but it looks like I won't be recording until next wk - so I want to give y'all something to peek at!  Plus, the 3 interviews I got are from super-talented peeps, that I think you'll enjoy.  Look for the bonus episode later today!

Knit on!


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yarn Diet & Other Ramblings


For those of us who follow the Liturgical calendar, we are entering Lent today (Ash Wednesday). As a Lutheran, Lent is a time of acknowledgement of Christ's sacrifice for us and our sins.  We acknowledge this by observing Ash Wednesday, when we receive the ashes as a symbol of repentance and cleansing of our sins.  We also observe a  Lenten diet on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (We don't eat meat.) In addition, we make a sacrifice in honor of Christ's sacrifice and to repent.  This year, I am going on a yarn diet for Lent. I will not purchase any new fiber or yarn during the 46 days of Lent. I will take this this to remember how much I have been blessed with.  We knitters tend to buy yarn like we buy lunch.  We hatch the Etsy shop updates.  We await the Loopy Ewe Wollmeise updates.  And we pick up that random gorgeous or sale skein that we cannot imagine living without.  And in all of this, we end up with a massive stash of yarn.  As the Yarn Harlot says, we all aim for SABLE - Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.  So I thought going on a yarn diet would be a good reminder to be happy with what I have, not just with yarn and fiber, but with everything.  Of course, I belong to yarn clubs, which I prepaid for - so some yarn will make it's way in.  But other than that, I will not purchase anymore knitting, crochet, or spinning items until after Easter Sunday.

In other news.. You may have noticed that I was supposed to record my podcast yesterday.  Well.. my entire family has come down with another virus!  We just can't seem to keep these bugs away!!  We're all congested, with sore throats, ear aches, and headaches. Unfortunately, that means until my throat feels better and I'm not blowing my nose every 2 minutes, podcasting will have to wait. :(  Boo!  So - I haven't podfaded.  I have SO, SO, SO much I want to share with y'all.  Please be patient with me while I try to nurse my family back to health. :)

If you've recently won a prize from my blog or Rav group, take heart.  I've packaged them all up and they'll be going out in tomorrow's mail.  A good number of my prize winners live outside of the US, so those packages will probably not arrive for a good 2 weeks. If you don't receive your prize within 3 wks, please, please contact me!

Have a terrific week, all!  I hope to podcast tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed (when you're not using them to knit, crochet, or spin!).  :)


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Monday, February 20, 2012

On The Blocking Mats: Wicked Shawlette


This is my completed Wicked Shawlette. The pattern is called Butterfly Winged Shawlette by Lisa Gentry.  I crocheted this for my Dramatic Knits' Musical Swap partner, whose favorite musical happens to be Wicked.  The pattern denotes flight and reminds me of when the Wizard sings, "Everyone deserves the chance to fly" in the song, A Sentimental Man.  And of course, Elphaba sings, "Everyone deserves a chance to fly" in the song, Defying Gravity.  Naturally, I went on the hunt for some Wicked-themed yarn and found See Jayne Knit on Etsy, who actually had a Wicked-themed sock yarn in the colorway Wicked.  How perfect is that?!  The yarn I used officially is See Jayne Knit Superwash Merino/Nylon 4-ply Sock Yarn in the Wicked colorway.  It was a real pleasure to work with!!  I will definitely be getting more yarn from her!!  I crocheted this on a US "G" Hook (4.25mm).  I think it turned out well!  As for the pattern, I was not a fan of the written instructions and preferred the charts, which were terrific.  The only other problem I had, was that the end and the beginning are slightly different on the charts.  Otherwise, I gave this pattern a 4-star rating and I'll definitely make myself one, one of these days.  I also opted to leave the dc edging off.  I had started to crochet it on and liked it better without.  I really hope my swap partner likes this shawlette because I know I do!


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Thursday, February 16, 2012

You Tube Tutorial: German Short Rows


I found these videos on YouTube today(Thanks to my Pinterest Pals!). These tutorials were posted by RoxMpls! She did a great job and I love these tutorials!


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I Haz a HO







If you've never seen The Stockinette Zombies Podcast, than you probably took the title to mean something completely different. Megan & Amy have coined the phrase, HO, as a means to describe a half-finished object.  So if you're knitting socks, mitts, mittens, gloves, wrist warmers.. something with two halves, and you finish 1/2, you can call it a HO.  ;p  Amy is hoping this terminology will spread throughout the knitting world as it has in the podcast world.  I quite like it and have decided to use it here.

I've finished 1 of my Winemaker's Dinner socks.  This pattern is Toe-Up Socks with a Difference by Wendy D. Johnson and knit in LadyBug Fiber Company Superwash 460 Self-Striping Merino/Nylon Sock in the Winemaker's Dinner colorway on US Size 2 circular needles (magic loop).  The yarn is fabulous to work with and of course, I just love any sock patterns that are Wendy D. Johnson's!

Time to CO the 2nd sock so it will be a HO no mo'!


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Quickie Giveaway: Crosswords Pattern!




To celebrate the release of my new pattern, Crosswords at the Coffee Shop, I'm going to giveaway 5 copies of my pattern (PDF)!  The winners will be selected by random (Rafflecopter)!  Hurry - you can only enter today!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Crosswords is Now Available For Purchase!



My latest shawlette design, Crosswords at the Coffee Shop, is now available for purchase on Ravelry (& soon, Craftsy)!  This pattern sells for $5.00 (USD) and includes 2 sizes: shawlette and shawl.  It also includes written and charted instruction.  As always, both sizes available in this pattern have been test knit via the written instructions and lace chart.  So if you're looking for a simple, yet elegant quick-knit, this pair of aran weight shawls is for you! Please give it a look-see! :)


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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blocked: Crosswords at the Coffee Shop



It's getting close!  Both versions of my latest design, Crosswords at the Coffee Shop, are out to test knitters.  The pattern is completely written.  I've had a few test knitters already complete their projects.  Look for this pattern soon!!


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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Episode 25: Must Write All the Things





Welcome
What's on (or off) the Needles:
What's on (or off) the Hook:
Other Stuff:
Stash Enhancement:
Reviews:
Next Episode's Reviews:
  • Namaste Boardwalk Bag & Skinny Mini Notions Bag
  • 4 AMAZING patterns by JessyZ
Announcements:
Thank You(s):
Upcoming Events In or Around the Pittsburgh Area:
  • Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival
    • Feb. 10, 11, 12, 2012 at the Four Points Sheraton in Mars, PA
    • Friday, February 10, 2012 - Market & Classes 1:30 - 6:30
      Ravelry Meetup - 6:30p

      Fashion Show with Emcee StevenBe: 7:30p - Wine and Cheese

      Saturday, February 11, 2012 - Market & Classes 9-5
      Pajama Party: 7:30 - Desserts, Prizes and Cash Bar

      Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 9-4


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On the Blocking Mats - Crosswords at the Coffee Shop, Shawl Version




After working up the shawlette/scarf version of my new pattern, Crosswords at the Coffee Shop, I decided to re-work my math and create a shawl version as well.  Here is the shawl version blocking.  Sorry for the horrible lighting.  Hopefully, when it's dry, I'll take it outside and get some decent pics.  This was knit in Steadfast Fibers Wonderful Wool in the Carrot Cake colorway on US Size 8 (5.00mm) needles.  I really like both versions quite a bit.  The shawlette is perfect to wrap around the neck and the shawl will just sit on top of the shoulders nicely.  Both versions are out to test knitters and will be included in the same pattern.  I've included the written lace instructions as well as a lace chart - so that no matter how you prefer to read a pattern, you're covered.  The pattern should be available for release on/around February 15, 2012 and will sell for $5 USD.  Again, this is knit in an Aran wt yarn and is an extremely quick knit - perfect for a last minute gift!  The shawl's finished measurements are 50" wide x 14" deep.

BTW - I've knit the shawlette version in a self-striping yarn and the shawl version in a variegated yarn.  Of course, either would look fabulous in a tonal, kettle-dyed, or solid as well.


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Friday, February 3, 2012

On The Blocking Mats: Crosswords at the Coffee Shop





Crosswords at the Coffee Shop is my latest shawlette design.  It's a crescent shawl, knit from the bottom up, beginning at the lace, and ending in garter st short rows.  It's knit in Aran Wt. yarn on US Size 8 needles.  This project takes approximately 250 yds. of yarn and is a super quick knit. This shawlette is the perfect size to wrap around your neck.  The pattern is out to test knitters and will be available on Ravelry soon.

For my version, I used Fibernymph Dyeworks Snuggle (Merino-Cashmere-Nylon blend) in the Salted Caramel Cocoa colorway.

Look for Crosswords at the Coffee Shop around Valentine's Day!


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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes




Podcast viewers: I've made the decision to record my podcast every other Tuesday instead of every Tuesday.  With so many amazing podcasts out there and so many new podcasts popping up, I realized that I was struggling to keep up with all of the terrific podcasts.  And I realized so many of my fibery friends were also having a hard time keeping up with all of their beloved podcasts.  So I decided to record every other week.  Quality over quanity, I say!  This will also give people who like to watch my podcast, the opportunity to catch up with not only my podcast, but others, without feeling overwhelmed.  :)

Look for a new episode this coming Tuesday, Feb. 7th!  I'll have so much to share! -Including some amazing reviews!!!


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