Putting it “Out There”

Last year, for the first time, I joined my knitting guild group and entered a couple of items in our Central Florida Fair. I was (super) nervous about putting my work “out there”! But the rewards were great – not only did my work receive recognition, but I felt so good doing it.

This year, I’ve decided to enter a few items again. I can always change my mind but I think it’s healthy to submit my work asking for criticism and showing people the work that I am so proud to do. So, what did I submit?

The rules state that all items have to be completed during the calendar year between fairs. I have chosen the “mini-me” leg warmers that I knitted copying the adult-size ones that I made for my daughter for Christmas. My first efforts at Fair Isle knitting (and I, honestly, forgot to watch the joins which are not joggless so we’ll see how that goes.) I may even re-knit them. Time permitting.

"mini me" infant leg warmers - original Fair Isle pattern

“mini me” infant leg warmers – original Fair Isle pattern

I also entered a little light green seed stitch dog coat that I designed for my little dogs. Last year I submitted my first original dog design for my Prima Dogma line. This is number two. I like the color and the edge which is a simple single crochet in a black & white wool which contrasts really nicely with the light green. It was a quick knit … I really need to write down the pattern and post it! I need to find a way to display it … stuffed dog or something!

The last three items are still on my needles.

My Vintage Velvet scarf with its wonderful reversible cables is one. Second is the little hat that I started knitting yesterday and will finish today, Downton. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry. Check it out! Third is the fingerless mitts that I will finish (I hope) in time to submit that I am knitting along with the Jimmy Beans Wool Downton Abbey KAL “Lady Violet’s Dinner Gauntlets”. Despite the fact that I am not totally in love with the colorway, I like the project. (And it’s my first ever KAL!) Both the scarf and gauntlets can be seen in my previous post, Queen Bee WIP here.

I will report on the final decisions of what I will submit (the deadline is still distant enough to add a project or two if I decide to do so) or that I may decide to withdraw. It’s a woman’s perrogative to change her mind, after all!

Gone knitting!

It’s a BLUE ribbon day!

Two Ribbons - Central Florida Fair Creative Arts

I am not sure I’ve shared with you that I’m 53 (and a half). But I am, and frankly, I’m proud that I look younger than my 53+ years. Every gray hair and wrinkle has been fairly earned raising three kids and living an honest life. Today is a special day for me. I picked up my two entries into the Central Florida Fair … and my first ribbons. I don’t think I’ve ever won a ribbon before … I was not much of an athlete and I don’t really like competition of any sort. So, winning my first ribbons at my age is quite a thrill!

It’s a blue ribbon day for this ribbon-winning girl! Yay, me!

Gone knitting!

1. belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something. 2. new; fresh; inventive; novel

I’ve been working on designing a line of original dog sweaters and coats for a year or so now. I just came across the notes I took from a teleconference with a friend who has been in the garment industry (for people) for her entire career and whose wisdom and experience I truly value. We had talked about having twelve (TWELVE!?) designs and changing out the fabrics for the seasons. Well, the seasons may be do-able but no (freaking) way I’ll have twelve designs any time soon! A girl’s got to make a living and without taking my little business all the way to an Andean village where women can knit for me, I need to get these patterns written, tested and knit up a few samples.

I have four designs at this point in time that I can use as my base.

The Señorita Lolita, a sassy dress with a ruffled skirt and a big colorful flower on the shoulder. Fingering weight yarn makes it more time-consuming to knit but makes the little dress flow-y and light. I just sent my first iteration of this sweater off to the Central Florida Fair as my submission to the “Other” category. Submitted with this photograph of my little Lola (“Whatever Lola Wants…”) who is my inspiration for the design.

The Boyfriend is a classic turtleneck sweater knit in bulky yarn which makes it pretty quick to knit up unlike it’s sibling above. The design is based on the women’s sweaters with the same name that are bulky and loose and snuggly … hoping that the feeling of wearing a boyfriend’s sweater will translate to the feeling of caring for your fur baby.

The MacTire. Irish knit-style cabled sweater with a turtle neck collar. Right out of the pages of GQ! (Is that still in print?) I love this sweater with the “hugs and kisses” cable down the back. Also a relatively quick knit as it’s in a bulky wool, it’s simply classic and appeals to my Irish roots.

MacTire (mock teerah)

Last but certainly not least is the Nor’Easter Coat. Seed stitch is one of my favorite textural stitches and with this bulky or super-bulky wool, it is a visual thrill. The stitches are tightly knit and make a really warm coat for chilly days. I’m working on the finishing touches to the pattern. This may be my current favorite!

Patterns to come!

Gone knitting!

Design – 2012 Trends

I’m already laughing because the original title to this post was written “Design – 2010 Trends” … and it’s true that I am not a fashion plate, what the heck gives me the chops to design? And my response to myself is, “it’s for dogs!”

I do believe that fashion trends are created by the industry solely to give designers and fabricators job security. Those of you who are fashion-driven (I do not belong to this group) will be drooling over the new colors and styles paraded across magazines and runways and city streets. I just happen to be missing that gene. But, dressing my dogs … that’s a whole other situation!

Bright colors seem to be the trend and lots of pattern. The Señorita Lolita is still in vogue (no, not the magazine) and I still believe that neutrals and traditional cables like the MacTire are timeless. This little coat is really cute – celery green and with the fabulous seed stitch texture. I have to find the right buttons to go along with it … perhaps one that is feminine and one that is masculine (for obvious reasons.)

I knit this coat with a super bulky merino wool by Rowan called “rowan big wool”. It’s 100 gram ball (at approximately 87 yards) was just enough to make a coat for a or 11 pound dog … with a little bit of wiggle room depending on button placement. The shade that I used (29) is a light celery green … one of my favorites! I love knitting with this wool. It’s soft and not at all splitty and knit up it’s light weight but really warm. Care for this wool by washing in cold water by hand and dry flat. Never wring hand knits – simply roll them up in a big towel and press the water out of the garment, unroll and dry flat.

Rowan has a bunch of beautiful patterns FREE on their website! You’ll need to register but, trust me, it’s worth it! Their patterns are beautiful and plentiful!

I think the second draft will have to be in a tangerine orange color as the Pantone color of the year is “tangerine tango” a vivid red-orange that would look so wonderful on my boy, Boogie! I never liked “orange” but find myself wearing it today! Go figure! I’m so stylin’!

So, off to the yarn store in the world wide web I go.

Photos to follow soon of all my finished projects!

Gone knitting!

Personality Plus

So, I designed this pattern for a competition – I won “skein-ettes” and had to make them into something. What better than a sweater for my “little girl” (aka Lola).

Animal lovers know how each little critter has a personality all their own. My brother has two big dogs. One is afraid of her shadow and hides behind the kitchen table. The other is just “one of the boys”, my fourth nephew, and always wants to play – drops slimy soliva-covered popped ball pieces (chewed frisbees, bits of sticks or firewood, plastic water bottles, shoes he grabbed indoors, etc.) at your feet morning, noon and night. He never gives up.

Ever watchful Lola. Ever sleepy Boogie!

My little dogs each have their own personality: Boogie is a “stoner” … he’s very trainable and has “sit”, “down”, and “give me five” but he is not a self-starter. Lola is the “alpha” dog in the pair;  she’s independent, and as nosy and bossy as dogs get. She’s a whopping 9 pounds dripping wet … go figure. In order to get Boogie to go outside, we call, “LolaBoq Come” … most of the time we get both dogs. 🙂

Anyway, I digress …

I have a first Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits order. The first sweater, “Turtle” is finished and ready to ship. BUT the yarn that I originally bought for the second sweater just wasn’t doing it for me. I ordered a second skein and cast on this morning. I love it – and I want to recommend it to you knitters out there in blog-land! It’s called Koigu KPPM. The one I bought this time is one of their solid colors but they have an endless line of wonderful colors sure to please every person’s taste. I’m buying mine at JimmyBeansWool.com because their service is very quick, their prices are reasonable and they’ve got a great selection. I think I could knit with only Koigu and be happy. I just ordered their last book … I’ll report on it as soon as it arrives.

So, off I go to knit AJ’s baby girl a pink Señorita Lolita sweater (Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits’ first design) … gone knitting!