Packed…

Levon is supervising me as I stuff envelopes and pack boxes.  He’s a very helpful fellow!

And I was running out of room in the dining room, so I got the first batch of books headed on their way.

More will to out Monday and Tuesday (I like to space them out a bit so the mailman doesn’t start planning to do me in).  The first ones will start arriving early next week, and they should all be in the mail before Thanksgiving!

I get the best mail

I’ve been busily working along on Curls 3.  I’ve got a giant bucket full of finished pieces just waiting to be blocked and photographed (once the snow is melted and the leg gets a tiny bit better…taking photos is surprisingly physical, and doing it on a slightly wobbly leg is harder than I would have expected).  And once they’re done, it’s off for edits and then to the printer.

But before that happens, I can totally show them off a bit, even in their unblocked state.

That’s made with Miss Babs Sojurn in their German Waterways color.  And it is very possibly the softest thing in my house (I say this knowing full well that I have two kitten bellies in this house).  It’s cashmere and silk and pretty much guaranteed to make a bad day better and a good day great.

And this is made with Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silk Victoria in their Sugar Plum Fairy Dust color.  Now you know me.  You know the colors I’m drawn to (gray…or grayish green…or a lovely greeny grayish brown).  But there’s something about Tina’s colors that make me move out of my comfort zone and reach for something bright.  And every time I do, I’m thrilled.

 

Curls 3 should be out this fall.  And if you want to see the other stuff I’ve posted about it so far, you can follow along right here.

 

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Block All The Things…yes even your swatches

Remember the gray speckled swatch on the needle from the other day?  The one with the Daintree yarn from Skein?

Well it came off the needles and looked fine…but like most knitting (all…not most…all), it was a bit rumpled and untidy.  That’s just the nature of knitting. It needed to be blocked.

All I did was squeeze it under water a few times then lay it flat beside the sink to dry.  No pins, no wires, no tension, no real effort.  Just soak it and lay it flat to dry.  And look what a difference that made.

I hear from people all the time saying ‘my knitting doesn’t look like yours.’  And 95% of the time it’s that they’re not blocking their finished pieces.  And I get that sometimes the full blocking dance is hard (worth it…but not always practical) but I promise you can soak your knitting and let it dry (hint, that’s basically washing it, and you’re going to want to do that from time to time).  You spent all that time making something, you owe it to yourself to take a few minutes and really let it shine.

And…just because it amuses me…this colorway is called Sea View and I just happened to come across a few pieces of sea glass on the beach as I walked out to the picnic table to take these pictures.  I decided to take shameless advantage!

Oh, and just for anyone following along at home, it’s a swatch for a project that will be in Curls 3 (which will be out next year if all goes according to plan).  You can follow along with all the Curls 3 posts over here.

No I didn’t forget

So somehow over the space of a little less than 12 weeks this summer I found a house, bought a house, sold a house, launched a book, and moved across the country.  I don’t particularly recommend that timeline (let’s just say I picked a book launch schedule long before I knew we were moving), but it turns out, it is more or less possible (if you don’t mind not getting much sleep for a while in the middle there).

However, it didn’t leave me with much time for swatching.

Luckily, I’m all settled in now (unpacked, and even most of the way through that inevitable list of tiny things you want to change about any new house), and back to swatching for Curls 3.

This is the lovely Daintree yarn from Skein (love them, the socks I did with their yarn continue to delight) in the color Sea View.  And lovely as it is now, when I get the swatch off the needles and properly blocked, I suspect it will be even better!

You’ll be seeing more of Curls 3 stuff around here in the next little while, but if you want to catch up on what’s gone on so far, you can see all of the posts about it here.

I have an unhealthy relationship with blocking…

More pieces for Curls 3 have started to come in, and I love each and every one.  I cannot wait to get them properly blocked and show off their full glory.  But until then, you’ll have to be content with a little peek at them fresh off the needles.

That’s out of Knit Circus’ Magnificent DK.

And that’s out of Spun Right Round’s Squish DK.

Oh wait, it’s reversible, so let’s see both sides.

Now of course you’ll get to see them as they get blocked.  But sometimes you can just tell ahead of time that things are just going to be marvelous.  And this?  This is one of those times!

More peeks at Curls 3 things over here.  And later this week we’ll start talking all about Silk Road Socks (which yes, is out later this month, yay!).

 

So many swatches

You’re probably getting sick of seeing these, but they’re really all I’m knitting these days, so you’ll just have to make do.  I promise I’ll get something else on the needles as soon as a few more of these are safely off in the hands of knitters!  But for now, it’s all Curls 3 swatches all the time.

At least they’re pretty though, right?  Because really, there’s nothing at all wrong with that!

It’s one of Indigo Dragonfly’s Tornadoz sets on Chameleon Sock in the color Cahoots.  And, just for the record, this is another example of ‘see how much prettier it looks after you block it’ (which might very well be my theme song these days)!

All the Curls 3 goodness hangs out over here if you’re looking for it all in one place.  All I can say is that this book is seriously pushing my color boundaries (in the very nicest ways possible)!

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.