Incoming

So, I know you though my mailbox was already just about the happiest place it could be (what with all the delightful Curls 3 yarn coming in).  But no…no it gets better.  The actual pieces themselves have started coming in too!  Take a look at this.

That’s the Cheshire Cat base from Wonderland Yarns / Frabjous Fibers.  The gray bits are Goat’s Beard, and the colorful bits are the Yellow to Fuchsia color morph. And up there is what it looks like before you block it…

And that’s what it looks like after.  See why I’m always (always always always) telling you to block things.  Just look what a difference it makes!  And that’s just with a soak and a pat, no pins to be seen.  Even if you’re scared of blocking, you can manage that (think of it as wash, lay flat to dry…you can do it).

More info on all the Curls 3 saga over here if you want it all in one place!

So when I say I knit a lot of swatches

Yeah…so about that swatching thing…I really do mean it.  And right now, I’m hard at work on Curls 3 swatches.

That’s one little doodle with one of the lovely Varigradients from Seven Sisters Arts.  The yarn is perfect, the stitch is fun, but I’m not 100% sure I’m sold on the combination.

So I try again…and this has lots of promise.

And again, this is absolutely normal.  It’s totally not a sign that anything is wrong.  It’s just that swatching is sort of the knitter’s equivalent of sketching…and you sometimes need to do more than one to find just the right plan.  It’s totally worth it in the end!

Follow along with all the Curls 3 plans over here, if you’re feeling curious!

They get to decide

When I was in college I took a history of religions class.  On the very first day, the professor declared (repeatedly and emphatically) that we would absolutely positively not under any circumstances be offering our own opinions on whether one group or another were ‘really’ any particular religion.  The official class position was “if they said they were, then as far as the class is concerned, they were.  They get to decide.”

It seemed reasonable to me then.  It has proven to be a pretty good way to handle a whole host of other identity issues in the intervening years.  And it’s coming in handy now as I put together yarns for Curls 3 (who said those history classes wouldn’t be useful…).

As I’ve been showing off the Curls 3 yarns, I’ve had quite a few people get in touch to say some variant of oh, that yarn is lovely, but it isn’t really speckles/a gradient/what you should be using for this book.  And I’m afraid I must hereby officially declare that my position is “if the dyer says it’s speckles or a gradient, it is.”  And, as a corollary, “if I say it’s what I plan to use for this book, it is.”

Now, I completely and totally understand if one yarn or another isn’t right for you.  That’s one of the other nifty things about this approach.  If you say a yarn isn’t right for you, it isn’t.  And that’s absolutely ok.  We all get to decide for ourselves.  It’s one of the most marvelous things about knitting…there’s room for us all to create whatever makes our weird little hearts sing.  But if you start trying to decide for me, I’m going to very gently point you back to this post.

And for the record, those bits of lovely in the picture are are Blue Moon’s Sugar Plum Fairy Dust colorway (from their BeSpeckled line of colors) and Hedgehog Fibres Construct colorway (and they do lots of speckle-y delights).  They’re both lovely yarns that I’m enjoying very much!  I hope you like them too.  And if not, I hope you find something you like every bit as much as I like them.

More Swatches

No really…swatches are all I’m knitting these days.

I’ve probably explained this before, but for me a book usually goes 1) have an idea, 2) source yarn, 3) swatch and write patterns, 4) send yarn and patterns off to magical stunt knitters to turn into projects, 5) get the patterns into proper book format and have them edited, 6) get projects back and take photos, 7) more editing, 8) printing.  Now there’s more to it than that (I left out the traditional ‘all my ideas are crap’ crisis that invariably happens somewhere in the middle), and there’s some overlap (for example, a few of the pieces for Curls 3 are actually already finished while the last few patterns haven’t yet been written).  But that’s the general process.  And now? Now I’m in that swatch swatch swatch and write patterns stage.

One of the swatches I’m totally happy with (meaning it’s ready to move onto being knit and formatted and edited and generally made official) is this giant cable in Bijou Basin Ranch’s Tibetan Dream.  I’m a sucker for a big cable, and this one goes together in a sort of unusual way that’s a lot of fun to do.

And I’m also loving this simple little bit of magic in Miss Babs Sojurn. The yarn is so amazing I didn’t want to mess around with it too much…just that simple little braided line is enough (plus you get to feel all clever for making your knitting turn and go sideways…I promise it’s not as tricky as it looks).

They either are or will soon be with knitters, and I’ll be working on cooking up schemes for more of the yarns.  If you want to check them out (or see the earlier swatches), you can find all the Curls 3 posts here.

Suitably Matched

Way back when I was a brand new knitter (think ‘had to look up how to purl because it seemed sort of tricky’ level of new), I read a pattern that said something like ‘cast on 24 stitches with appropriate yarn and suitably matched needles.’  And somehow I got it into my head that ‘suitably matched’ meant ‘needles that look pretty with your yarn.’  I’ll just let you imagine how well that worked out.  It’s a wonder I ever got the hang of this.

But that incident has left me with a tendency to grin every time my needles happen to match my knitting!

And someone will ask, so these are the needles.  No they’re nothing fancy.  But I’ve had them for at least a decade, and they’ve held up perfectly (as have all the other needles of that brand I’ve used over the years…).  And the yarn is Silky Victoria from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the color Sugar Plum Fairy Dust.  And the knitting is a swatch for Curls 3 (which should be next year’s book)!