Maquereau Beret & Mitts in Knotions Re-Launch!

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I am fizzing about this being published!

It’s pretty amazing, an honour, really, to be selected as one of the designers in a launch issue, or re-launch in this case. But when it’s a publication like Knotions, it’s a bit special: Knotions is the webzine that offered a platform for Magknits patterns, after that site vanished overnight, along with designers’ fees. Extra karmic brownie points for that, Knotions.

Then, there’s the other designers. WoollyWormhead is in it too! and she is the goddess of all things hatty! and my hat is right beside hers on Ravelry! I’d also mention Elizabeth Helmich, except I hate her because she stole all the best names, and because the gorgeousness that is Jane of the Wood sneers at me from my favourites, saying things like “Not yet, fat girl!*” and “Lace? With those sausage fingers?” I may have to have a go at Sidhe’s Beret, though. Okay, I’ve already selected the yarn. Then, there’s Louise Tilbrook, who has a way with socks that is magical. Honeycomb Cables is particularly mesmerising, shifting shape according to the viewing angle. And finally, Jody Richards managed to produce the cabley City Creek Mitts as well as organising the re-launch, and doing the tech editing and layout for the patterns! Wow! Why am I in this issue again?

Finally, and no less excitingly, it is my beautiful niece and god-daughter’s professional debut** as a model! She has a quirky, fresh-faced beauty** that shows the set to perfection. She performed beautifully, climbing up walls and rickety gates for shots despite being afraid of heights, and never once whined or sulked or demanded cocaine. What more could you ask for?

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* – The size range actually goes above my size. But I am also a lazy fatty who who would rather knit smaller garments…

** – Meaning I paid her in actual money, not just hot chocolate and the hat and mitts.

*** – Just like her aunt.

 

Es-cheerful Mittens

This was the proposal I sent for my most recent pattern, Blue Skies & Butterflies, which appears in Sweet Paprika Yarns’ Kith & Kin Collection. Eight -8! sizes, from baby to extra-large adult.
I love love love making gloves, all kinds of gloves, any size, any shape. It’s instinctive: I’m pretty sure there’s some funky topological calculus tattooed into my brain that fills out the details – I’ll never not be able to make them.
I’m generally happy with my romance section: I think I call up a mood pretty well.  The inspiration is clear, too. Escher is a favourite of mine, a perfect blending of art, mathematics and vision science, my specialism. I’m not happy with the photo, but with the theft of my beloved old Pentax and poor results from a borrowed DSLR, I decided to scan the swatch. It’s not wonderful – better than the DLSR – but I suppose it gets the message across.
The sketch is, however, laughable. Part of me questions the need for a sketch in some instances where shape is obvious: the brief was for a mitten, FHS. How many options are there? But, the process must be followed. In this case, I did a quick sketch on my tablet, using a sketching app and a finer-than-usual touchscreen stylus. Nowhere near my usual standard for sketching, but I needed to test the tech, and could not be bothered to go through my usual sketch, scan, titivate and save in a suitable format. I’ll probably stroke out one day on the titivating part alone. Give me a pencil over Creative Suite anyday.
Nevertheless, the proposal did the job. My tablet technique has improved dramatically since – but more on that later. Shh!

Wow…

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It’s the Mighty Offspring’s 10th birthday tomorrow, which means it’s about 10 years since I got back into crafting seriously!

I outlined my route back in this post back in 2007. It wasn’t quite where I’ve fetched up, designing hand-knitting patterns!

Instead, it was needs-must crafting for my suddenly-budget wedding after my research career went up in smoke. Strapped for cash, I crocheted wire and bead motifs into invitations and jewellery.

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I had no real intention of continuing – I’m not a jewellery wearer at the best of times – but I never did put the hooks away again. I kept on playing with the wire, buying bits and pieces, reading up on the subject on the internet.

Of course, even then, there was a lot more about yarn-related crochet (and knitting) on the internet than about wire crochet, so naturally I found myself looking at that too. I found, and was entranced by items like Rachel Seeley Merrill’s Daisy Crochet Skirt, Marnie MacLean’s Gothic Lace cardi∗, and 302 Calories (actually, that whole issue of Knitty should be required reading – go look). I discovered Garnstudio’s DROPS patterns, Knitting Daily (Sandi Wiseheart’s Bust Dart series probably taught me to design), and the Yarn Harlot.

Then, on some blog or other, I saw a mention of a new website called Ravelry – and down the rabbit hole I went…

TTFN

 

∗- still in my queue, still too fat – maybe for my 50th birthday??

Imagine, if you will, a migrant.

From a warzone.
Wears different clothes and strange head coverings.
Speaks another language, has a thick accent.
Doesn’t share all your values.
Has taken many of your jobs and at least one of your menfolk.
Proficient with several weapons, knows how to build a nuclear bomb.

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Headshot

Scary, huh?

LOLkid Hat

Lol Kids Accessories
© Practical Publishing
© Practical Publishing

The proposal for what started out as a baby accessory set, but was finally published as the Tiny Teddy Hat in Knit Now #48, and modelled on possibly the most grumpy baby ever! He just knows he’s being humiliated… This is so cute, and so ridiculously easy to make, it could even be used to teach a beginner how to knit.

I do feel it’s a mother’s duty to put her offspring in silly hats and take pictures. I have a lovely slideshow that I’m planning to play as a backdrop to my hilarious speech at Dread Lord Chthulu’s wedding. That’ll teach him for kicking me to bits for nine months!

Very simple, bing bam boom. I probably wrote too much, but that for was two patterns. The sketch was, I feel, less helpful than the diagrams.

The rights should be back in September – just in time for Christmas knitting!

Shadow Pets Hat & Mitt Set

Hat
Most Adorable Baby EVAR!

Shadow Pets - K

The proposal for the Shadow Pets set published in Knit Now #44.

Thai Shadow Puppets
Thai Shadow Puppets

The inspiration was mixed: Thai shadow theatre, a dress I had as a toddler, and a dull evening when I entertained myself by figuring out how much detail I could pack into a 1″ square. The high contrast is much more interesting to babies than the usual pastels, and helps to develop their vision. Neuroscientist moment: babies are born colour-blind, and only able to distinguish (blurry) high-contrast shapes. Colour vision develops through accidental firing of neurons associated with retinal cells (again, kinda accidentally) responding to colours in the environment. In theory, it may be possible to cause total colourblindness by preventing access to colours! What a horrible idea! (Shame on me for thinking it).

Then, moons later, Knit Now put out a call for a Designers’ Challenge – a time-limited mini-project with minimal instructions, using a small quantity of a specific yarn. I opted for JC Rennie Supersoft Lambswool, having discovered even more moons ago that 4-ply is great for knitting babywear: you can use an adult pattern in, say, Aran weight yarn to produce a wee version! NB: great fun, but not an exact science – always knit a gauge swatch (tension square).

You’ll note the inclusion of the ugly-botty back of the swatch. I thought this was important to show that there needn’t be any floats to snag on babies’ uncooperative fingers. The proposal called for a long string connecting the mitts, to be run through the sleeves – ah, the memories! However, the pattern ultimately did not feature this saviour of maternal sanity, opting for a closure instead. And the most adorable baby EVAR!

AND EVAR!!!
AND EVAR!!!