Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Oh Johnny Lee

One of the many things I like about my knitting enterprise (the design work, website, and blog) is how its "branding" evolves.  Over the past 3 years I've changed my website format a few times, which has spawned like changes to my business cards, the pattern font and layout, etc., and each time I'm tempted to go back and change all of my prior patterns (38 published at this writing) to match the new look – but I resist.  (Truthfully it's an ongoing internal dialog.  I can be that kind of perfectionist.)  Such would be crazy work, I tell myself, and would get in the way of my knitting. 

The latest in this evolution involves the naming of my designs.  Up until now I've used my family tree as source, beginning with my mum – Marlene.  By now I'm running out of family names, and since I expect to never stop this work :), I need another plan.

I read recently a blog post by knitwear designer Bristol Ivy (Where the Red-Winged Blackbird Flies) where she recites a Shaker spiritual, "by turning, turning, we come 'round right."  She's a wonderful writer and I found this passage particularly poetic.  I've thought of it a lot since and as often happens, I notice, when timing is right ideas come together.  From this I've decided to name my pieces lyrically while keeping their basis in my history and family story.  It feels right, and consistent, hopefully opening up a whole world of naming possibilities – though currently I'm thinking only of the next.

Oh Johnny Lee – mum's first crush, as written in her teenage diary that I found and secretly read as a scoundrel child, then broadcast to the family, as we laughed and laughed. Mum laughed too, though I never saw that diary again.  I don't think she'd mind me using the memory.

Launch of Oh Johnny Lee forthcoming.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

At last

Today I left my down coat in the closet and went out in Elsie, unzipped, just like this.

Oh happy spring – at last.

Friday, January 31, 2014

When one thought leads to another

I regret blog silence for the past several weeks, January's been a busy knitting month.  Submissions to hoped for publications, and my routine monthly self-published piece have taken all attention.  And as I await word about the former, for now a word about the latter – Emily, my January offering.

Dear Emily has certainly taken many forms along the way.  The fact of her being a vest is the only vestige (smile) of her original self.  She started as an idea for garter stitch, in the manner of Mary and Elsie.  I am smitten with the silent shaping that this stitch allows. I made garter swatches in Quince's owl, then chickadee, and finally settled on lark as my desired thickness for this chilly weather piece.  Then, with deadlines looming, she took a back seat to submission planning that had me scouring my idea stash.  By the time I returned to her, rib stitches had seduced me and she was transformed. I do like when this happens, when one thought leads to another. My husband Peter re-collages his artwork, my writer pal Bev erases, cuts and pastes, and I reknit. Emily got shorter, a bit slimmer, and shaping stitches were reconsidered.  And although I thought about making her work as she was, I knew I was on the right track when the decision to start over with new-found knowledge was a relief rather than a burden.

I'm wrapping up pattern writing now, checking my math, and will be taking pictures over the weekend.  (Thank you Pete for this preview!)  With luck my January offering will launch by February 3rd.  Close enough :).

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 wrap up

It's fun seeing this past year's designs all at once, in one place.  

Jeanette Laura Elizabeth





Quite a motivation for 2014 – planning (and knitting) is already underway.  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Trying something new

I decided to set my own design work aside for these last few weeks in December, needing some last minute and thoughtful gifts.  Hats – quick – seemed just right.

I know nothing about hats.  I don't wear them and therefore don't understand their fit and form – a perfect opportunity to try out the patterns of another designer whose work I follow, Amy Christoffers of Savory Knitting

It's nice to let someone else do the thinking for a change and I think I'll defer to Amy for all things hats from this day forward.  I've been having a grand time with Lazy Jacks Hat (2 finished above) and Cider Press Set (currently on the needles), all worked in Madelinetosh Vintage wool – another first for me.  I'll finish all 4 in plenty of time for our gift giving dinner.

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 13, 2013


Yesterday I launched this lovely, leafy, wrap – spawned unexpectedly from some swatching experiments and sparked further by Shibui Knits rich merino alpaca wool.  I'll definitely use that again.

I named this piece for my first friend, Corinne, who was lovely too.  You'll find the pattern here.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rockin' a moto sweater named Elsie

Well, maybe I'm not rockin', but if you ask me, Elsie the sweater sure does!

I finally got this moto design out of my head and onto my needles.  The resulting knit is quick – aran weight wool, the fabric dense and weighty – all garter stitch, and the zippers substantial and prominent – adding a bit of sparkle.  Yum.

Pattern writing is wrapping up now and I plan to launch tomorrow.  Just couldn't resist posting this peek – I'm loving this moto!