Monday, June 10, 2013

Knitting. . .for fun AND more!

How lucky am I?!?!?! I get to knit and I get to spend time everyday with my craft AND my boys. Like this one. Isn't he cute?

But lately, I've had the chance to test knit several patterns by friends, sample knit for a small independent dyer to show off her yarns, put together a pattern layout for a new design being published by a friend and knit up class samples either in class or for classes at my LYS. And most recently I was given the job of helping and answering questions for those who have signed up for the new yarn club offering at my LYS.

So here's the recent (-ish) rundown.

First I had the pleasure of test knitting the Drizzle hat and The Old Man and the Sea cardigan by Mel Ski from the Single Handed Knits podcast (Rav ID: MSkiKnits). The process is part of what I love. . .and my relational side adores working one on one with designers. Mel makes the process so enjoyable and fun. Both of these patterns are must-haves. They are wearable, well-written, and work for so many sizes.

Drizzle is made to not mash your hair, but would work well on a rainy day. It can be knit as a normal, slouch, or super-slouchy hat. This is the slouchy version out of Three Irish Girls McClellan in the Highgrove colorway.

The Old Man and the Sea should really be knit while you read the Hemingway novel. So many of the details tie in to the story, but that's just the icing on the cake. This cardigan is a simple and quick knit, but has so many lovely details that keep it interesting.

My favorite part of working with Mel and her patterns is the way she ties them in to her life. The details and the way they work in to the pattern and tie them in to her ideas is so creative. You really need to check them out. :)

I also got to do double test knit duty for another friend. The amazing Megan Williams from the Stockinette Zombies Podcast (Rav ID: JustRunKnit). One is her sock pattern that will be released with the next journey on the Traveller Yarn Club from Yarn Vs. Zombies.  (there is one one-month spots left as of this moment if you want to get in on that!!)

I can't tell you the name or the inspiration of these just yet, but will be able to come June 15th, so check my Rav project page if you're interested . . . But here are my lovely socks! These are knit out of Three Irish Girls Adorn in the Bridget colorway. This pattern was my cup of tea. And I loved the process.

You can either make these match or you can make them mirror image socks. Either way, they are deliciously squishy and beautifully textured. These will be exclusive to the club for a year, (I think!) but they are worth adding to your queue to remember later (or jumping on the last one month club spot while you can!!!)

The first project I test knit for her (out of order, I know) is this lovely beauty. This is the Weather the Weather Hat. The patterning is AMAZING. . .and not only that, but it is FREE!!!! TOTALLY worth the process and the yarn to make you or someone you love (or both) one of these guys. Beautiful. The yarn is Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Worsted in the Beijing colorway.

I love Megan's use of geometric shapes and math in her patterns, but even if that's not your thing, these well written patterns will not disappoint or overwhelm. And I know first hand that she is patient and explains herself well if there is a question.

I also did double duty for yet another designer/podcaster - Laura Linneman (Rav ID: lala) from The KnitGirllls Podcast. Laura is a teacher at heart and does a great job explaining her patterns. I must be on a hat kick, since I knit this one. It's called the Walking in Memphis hat. It  has not been released yet, but again, keep an eye on my project page and I will link to the pattern there once it is released. This is knit out of Cakewalk Yarns Play in the Chalkboard colorway.


The other pattern I test knit for Laura is this adorable toe-up afterthought heel pattern for toddler socks called the TTFN Toddler Socks. It is the pattern she uses to teach her class on the subject. It is a free pattern, and easily adjustable to make taller socks. It would also be a great pattern for a sock knitting beginner, so check them out! I LOVE these, and so does my 3 year old!!! These are knit out of Knitpicks Felici Sport in the Too Cool colorway.

Like I said above, I've also been knitting store samples. This first one is the Incarnation Hat by Toby Roxane Barna.  I knit mine out of the lovely Unwind Yarn Company Touring DK in a new to her colorway, Wisp. I wish I could keep it!!! But instead, I get to send it off to the wonderful Dana for her to use in her shop to show how awesome her yarn is (and it really is!). This yarn is fantastic and you should make yourself a sweater out of it, or at least a hat, if you get the chance (and there are sweater quantities in her shop for pre-order!)

I also had the chance to knit these cute little mitts for my local shop, Paradise Fibers. I will be teaching a class on colorwork sometime soon, so these little guys were my class/shop sample. I love how they turned out. They are the Sweet Robin Wrist-ees by Tiny Owl Knits. These are knit out of several colors of Brown Sheep Nature Spun Fingering.

And lastly, I had the chance to help Lisa Dykstra (Rav ID: yenforyarn) do the layout of her pattern One Skein Slant. Lisa is amazing and inspiring and strong. She is battling cancer (again) and yet somehow manages to produce amazing things like this. And her photography and beautifully written pattern made this project a cinch. These photos are hers, and used with permission. Aren't they beautiful? This is definitely on my short list of things to knit next. It is a stunning pattern for both solid and variegated yarns. The cool part about working with Lisa is that it really gave me a chance to solidify in my own mind what I like in a pattern and what attracts me when I am  looking for a pattern. Her beautiful daughter drew your eyes in but the cowl, what you came for, is stand alone beautiful enough to make you want to knit it NOW!!

And now for the most recent addition to my ever growing list of enjoyable jobs - being the go-to person on Ravelry for those participating in the new Paradise Fibers Yarn Club.  This club is awesome. It's $24.95 a month (plus shipping - unless you let them know you want to pick it up in store) It includes a yarn and a pattern. And for a limited time, the first  month is only $1 to let you try it out! There are monthly perks (like a $5 credit if you complete the small project every month and 10% off your yarn purchases for the next 12 months). It is a great way to check out different yarns, participate in a KAL (Knit along) with other people around the country and to build your stash of knits for you or for gifts. I have the first month of yarn in hand and am working through the pattern. It truly is fun and lovely. And there is still time to jump in if you're interested!

So that is just a small fraction of what I've been working on the past few months. It has definitely kept me busy!! Some of these "jobs" meant that I got paid to knit them. Others simply rewarded me with the ability to see a pattern before anyone else. And all of them gave me the chance to work with some of the most amazing friends and designers. I know these people/designers/yarns first hand and I have no problem recommending them . . .so do take a moment to check them out! It's amazing when something I love to do benefits me as much as this has. I got to know them and their process of creativity. It inspired me and encouraged me in my own creativity. I am blessed to have these designers/yarn dyers in my knitting life and I am so thankful for their willingness to benefit the knitting community by contributing their talents/creativity/patterns/artistry to enhance the craft.