April 27, 2013

A Crafty Binge or Two

This week began with quite a sewing binge, and that pretty much took up all of three days, though I have a few hours of attaching buttons still ahead of me.  I was inspired by this crafty chick at an arts festival who gave me the DIY run-down, to make the cutest double-sided headbands I have ever seen.  So, I jumped in with both feet and made 56.  That's right.  56.  The super-awesome thing about it is that I have almost no investment in this project because, as it turns out, that 30 gallon tub of fabric scraps that I have toted from house to house over the last 15 years on the premise that I know I will use these bits of fabric for something, finally came in handy.  I have about another 30 cut and waiting for a turn on the sewing machine.  What could I possibly do with 56 reversible headbands?  They will be fluttering in the breeze waiting to go home with long and short-haired damsels at my summer market booth.  It will be a rainbow of headbands!


Last week, I started a pair of plain Jane socks in a 2-ply hand paint (I hope it's superwash) merino that had been hibernating in my stash without its label.  Thursday morning I finished said socks.  They are going to be a favorite in my sock drawer, I can already tell.  And then I immediately cast on for another pair because, well, I can feel a sock binge coming on.



Intended as a palate cleanser, the hours of Zen plain sock knitting--all those repetetive knit stitches going around and around in circles affords a considerable amount of contemplation time--made me realize that the stumbling block that I have hit on my secret cable sweater--I've knit, twice now, the same 2 inches on that sweater in the last 8 days and that's all--is likely due to my overtly visual nature.  I think I can't decide on a transitional pattern for the bodice because I can't see how the sleeves will lay in proximity to it.  I think I am going to have to finish the sleeves to finish the body.  But maybe not.  I'm going to meditate on it by knitting socks a little longer.

And because, like apparently the entire rest of the knitting world at this time of the year, I'm suddenly re-energized to knit socks, I cast on for a new pair using more label-less stash yarn.  Although I did re-org. most of my stash yesterday by weight--and realized that I have definitely let the sock yarn stash dwindle!--I didn't find all of the missing labels.  I really need to get a better system.  I digress.  The new socks are a pattern from Socktopus called Shur'tugal by Alice Yu.  Although I do love a pair of plain stockinette socks on my feet, I also realize that plain socks are a struggle to finish after the dreaded gusset because by then I am just bored with plain knit stitches.  It was sheer will power that I didn't start this new pair before finishing the plain blue socks.  I'm not much on cabled socks--don't like that much bulk in my shoe--or very lacey socks--so much work to be hidden under a pant leg, you know what I'm saying?  I think this pattern will be a good one for keeping my attention post-gusset without being bulky and uncomfortable.

 The only issue with these so far is the RT/LT instructions, which I find totally foreign.  Unlike my usual method, which leaves the stitches twisted to the front in an even tension, the method in the directions involves twice the stitch manipulation and no chance of even stitches on the LT with the way that I knit. So, after finishing the first repeat, I've decided to scrap the instructions and just do it my way.  Not that this should surprise anyone ... I'll do a step-by-step for my method in a future post so you can twist the easy way, too.

And in case I find this one to be oh-so-boring, I treated myself and ordered a new sock book: Favorite Socks (25 Timeless Designs).  Like hanks and skeins of yarn, one can never have too many sock books.  Am I right?  So I will knit on these socks while I wait impatiently for the postman to bring me my book.  (I wish he'd hurry up!)

Until next time, love the yarn you're with!

April 16, 2013

New Website is Live!

I've been shopping, shopping, shopping for a good site that would import my Etsy listings and my blog into one website and still offer a shopping cart option.  As Twitter would have it, I was "followed" by CraftLaunch.com, and that one little follow was definitely a gift!  Web hosting dilemma solved!  I by-passed the offer to let a pro set it up for me for free, so the website is totally set up by me, which makes me feel completely tech. savvy (though not the reality).

The new site looks like this:


and you can get there by clicking:  Zibeline Knits.  Totally excited to have my very own domain (www.zibelineknits.com)!!!!!

There have also been some pricing changes at the shop, and prices on alpaca, especially, have dropped, dropped, dropped.  Couple that with a re-vamp of shipping (lower domestic prices, which rocks!), and you can't help but add to your stash, right?

Hope your day is filled with sunshine and knitting!

April 15, 2013

Something New, Something Blue

This past weekend was a busy one!  Saturday I spent most of the day with gal pals at the Stitches South Market.  It was smaller than last year and, for the second year in a row, was missing the major retailers (Craftsy, Ravelry, etc.) that I had enjoyed visiting in previous years.  I think it's the venue that is the reason for fewer vendors (it felt like there was only half of what was there last year, and some of the repeat vendors came with about half the stock they brought last year, too).  I hear tell that next year the market will be much further away from me but at a better venue.  I guess we'll see.  So, with that said, I only picked up two trinkets this year.  I tried to keep the spending low since the past few months have been slow for me, business-wise.  I did score a Japanese stitch dictionary, though, and did a little dance when I saw it laying on the table.  I have been hunting for this one for a long time:


And I was actually going to leave the market without having bought any yarn (Honey's voice in my head saying "Why do you need more yarn?  You have and ENTIRE room full of yarn!), but this one skein really caught my attention from Miss Babs:  Biker Chick.


Not sure what it's going to be, but probably a pair of socks.  And speaking of socks, I cast on a new pair on Friday afternoon while in the carpool lot.  After a weekend of evening knitting while Honey watched American Loggers, I'm about an inch shy of starting the heel.  I'd love to tell you who made this colorway, but alas it's one of those lost-label skeins that has been in the stash for at least two years.  But I was in the mood for something simple and something blue.


Meanwhile, there's a new pattern being worked up on the needles for Fall.  I'm thinking that it is going to be a nice sport-weight scarf, but it could turn into a wrap.  It's too early to tell because I am, actually, swatching this one first.  Odd for me to swatch because I find it so tedious and prefer to knit dangerously, but what the heck.

So here's hoping that your knitting week and mine run smoothly and you get plenty of sunshine to knit in.

April 12, 2013

Friday FO: Arabella Arrives!

I have finished knitting the test knit for Arabella, and I will tell you that I am absolutely IN LOVE with this new pattern of mine--the crystal ball suggests there might be another one on the needles by next week in my new Cove colorway.  I probably could have picked a better colorway than shades of grey to test this pattern with, and it made for difficult photography.  But here's how she looks:






The pattern, which requires approximately 500 yards (though you could reduce the number of repeats in a row and get away with about 400 yards) of fingering weight 3-ply Calliope silk (or you might substitute linen, as well), is available in my Etsy shop, on Ravelry, and on Craftsy (not to mention via the right sidebar) today if you are interested in casting on for one for yourself.

April 10, 2013

Calliope!



Today's blog begins with a toss of curly paper streamers into the air to welcome my newest yarn line:  Calliope!  Here are a few of the simply sumptuous hanks (I'm going to stop incorrectly referring to my yarns as skeins, since they actually are not machine-wound and available at your local Walmart) that are arriving in my Etsy shop beginning this afternoon:








 

I think that I will be dyeing up a skein of Cove for myself later this week when all of the dyeing for the Etsy shop is done for a second Arabella scarf.  Rocket is on the fence as to whether the eye-catching cove or the lush greens of Tree Frog are her favorite, but I am sure that there is going to be a special request (though once made, she won't wear it).  A skein of the French Lilac has already been claimed by my mother.  

Look for more pretty Calliope silks later this week!  Until next time, knit happy!

April 05, 2013

Socialize me!

Whew!  This trendy internet social networking thing has my head spinning!  This week was all about trying to wrap my head around Twitter.  At first, I was baffled by even the purpose of the hash tag.  Now, look at me!  I feel like a social network superstar!  Even though I am married to the computer guy of computer guys, when it comes to doing anything internet-savvy to support my knitting frenzy, I am usually adrift on the sea of internet overload and clinging to a piece of cardboard.  In other words, my non-mathematical, non-spatial, non-html brain has to figure it all out.  Good thing I am a quick study! (And by quick study I mean that it usually takes under a week to figure something out.)

See that cute little Twitter birdie in the top right corner of my blog (subliminal message:  click on it and follow @Zibelineknits!)? Under the FB link (subliminal message:  click on it and follow Zibelineknits!)?   The new adventure this week was Twitter.  I felt like Fred Shay in Suburgatory (minus the dopey hat, skate shoes, and need to have discs put in my ears of course), as I tried to figure out how to use the account that I created months ago but was too baffled by. Many a former high school student used to complain about how much vocabulary they were forced to learn each week in my English class; but given the vast amount of social networking vocabulary that I have had to learn this week just to be able to type a tweet, I am bemused by their angst.   So now I know how to tweet or whatever, and I have a grasp of the hash tag, which I have been using probably way too much, and the @ before the names/titles, and I am both a follower and one of the followed.  I even managed to connect my Etsy shop to Twitter, so now my visitors can click to follow me on Twitter AND FB.  But the Pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance of the week is ... drum roll ... I linked my Twitter account to my FB page!  Why is this so amazing and why would millions of teenagers and twenty-somethings be rolling their eyes if they read this post?  27 megamillion web page sets of "linking" instructions later, I learned that I was doing it all backward!  Apparently, when the tag line of  a post says "Linking FB to Twitter", what you are supposed to read into that is "Linking Twitter to FB" because you can't link FB to Twitter, only vice versa.  That only took me two days to figure out.  Again, very proud of myself.

And, lastly, I am now also a trade member of Craft Network ... still figuring that site out, though. Like I said,  I have been awash in social media this week, and I think I'm about to reach overload.

But you know what's REALLY been a handy discovery?  Well, I used to be a Google Reader.  But they've become totally out of touch with the real world and have decided to do away with Reader. (insert expletives).  Feebly to the rescue!  Said "good-bye" to Google Reader this week and now I only ever use Google, really, for email and searching the internet since they sucked up my favorite online photo editor, Picnik, and mucked that up when they created that wonky Google+.  If you use an Ipad or an Iphone to stay abreast of your favorite blogs, the free Feebly app ROCKS!!  I mean it. 

This week was also tax week.  I hate tax week.  I mean, really hate tax week. After the third look this week at the numbers in the boxes and my 900th time answering all of those tax software questions, I feel like my brain is broken.  Not just a little broken, either.  Really broken.  Taxes are the absolute worst aspect of owning a business.  Everyone complains about having to keep track of receipts and mileage, but, seriously, how difficult is that compared to trying to understand the insanity of the United States Income Tax system?  Have you ever tried to get a definition for one of those acronyms on a tax form?  All government definitions, I'm convinced, are written by spin doctors.  You can read a 200 word paragraph and still not have an actual definition.  So frustrating!  April is my least favorite month of the year because of taxes.  It helps not at all that comprehension of mathematics and accounting completely elude me.

Of course, absolutely none of this has anything to do with my forays into the world of knitting and, sometimes, well actually often, frogging.  Thursday was one of those days when you step outside and wonder what happened to the 7 months of warm weather you were looking forward to and how did we get back to November?  From the 70s and sunny (and 1st sunburn of the year) weather to cold rain and 40s over frickin' night!  Thursday, however, was a rockstar kind of day for knitting, and I was able to knit ALL day.  To look at my projects, though, you wouldn't think that 6 hours went into knitting those 4 inches on Aribella or the 1.5 inches on my secret cable sweater.  That cable sweater involves a considerable amount of planning and counting, which often leads to some necessary frogging, especially when you are home with a child and it is spring break and it is cold and raining outside. But that's where I am.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures for you of either project--you'll just have to wait and see--but I do have this lovely picture of the first tulip of the season in my flower bed, and I think it might just be my inspiration for one of my new silk noil colorways (hint, hint).





April 03, 2013

Arabella

It's the beginning of Spring ... April flowers and all that ... and I'm all about knitting up lace scarves (in case you haven't noticed that all my posts lately involve lace scarves). I'm also apparently mesmerized by silk noil yarn. So I finished the Lila scarf in the silk noil. then I started a new scarf, a Serendipity scarf at knitting club last Saturday. Then, 6 inches into the Serendipity scarf, I thought "It's time that I come up with a new lace scarf pattern." After all, I have a little time on my hands while I'm waiting for my 100% wool cabled sweater-in-progress to dry out after Rocket accidentally spilled MOST of a bottle of nail polish on it (GASP!! Yes, you read that correctly! Nail polish remover. Burgundy wool. I think I saw my life flash before my eyes ...).

And so, a new lace scarf pattern is born! This one is a bit odd in its inspiration. I had begun what was intended to be something like a repeating series of fans. When I began to knit it up in this charcoal handpaint (silk noil; no surprise there),  three things popped into my head: billowing sails, pirate ships, and 1930s film stars. It's funny and strange how the mind works, isn't it?  So then I began to think about a name for this oddly connotative pattern, and by association with all of the pirates that I could recall, I settled on the 1935 film Captain Blood, starring Errol Flynn (best film pirate EVER before Johnny Depp! ) and Olivia de Havilland.



I'm a sucker for old black & white films, so it seems only fitting that this new pattern, which will be available when the silk hits the shop in a week or so, be named after the classic, albeit fictional, pirate ship which, incidentally, is named after the film's heroine: Arabella.  Coincidentally, both the scarf and the film are done in shades of grey--in case you were wondering why I didn't pick a bright red yarn instead.


Well, now that we're up to speed, I hope you like the new look to the blog.  It's been a long time coming.  I'm also working on a new website for Zibeline Knits, so stay tuned for that unveiling.

May all of April's showers bring you oodles of knitting time!

April 01, 2013

Monday Masterpiece: Lila in silk

I've apparently had plenty of time to knit while waiting in the "car rider" lanes at my children's schools because, just in time for Spring Break--which REQUIRES that I cast on for a new project--I have finished my Lila scarf in the Dragonfly Fibers green silk noil.  It's stunning.  There's just nothing else that I can say, except that I can't wait until this same yarn (3-ply silk noil dyed by moi) is in my own shop later this month!!!



Final dimensions (post blocking) are 8 inches x 69 inches. I used about 440 yards. It's so lovely that I will definitely be wearing it as I cruise through the Stitches South market with knitting club gals in two weeks, where everyone will be so taken aback by its beauty that they will stop and beg me for the pattern! ... Sorry, just a little fantasizing there.

So what's the new project for Spring Break?  Well check out this nifty bit of knitting that I started at knitting club this past Saturday. 


This is Dragonfly Fibers silk noil and my Serendipity pattern.  Serendipity looks so fantastic--I can't count the number of times people have stopped and asked if they could buy the scarf right off of my neck!--in handspun merino that I thought I would take it into the realm of silk.  I'm so pleased at how this fiber holds the shape of the pattern that I'm already thinking this little number won't need any blocking at all!  Again, can't wait until this gets into my own shop in mid-April.  I have great plans for silk noil pastels and my own wardrobe, let me tell you!

Hope your Monday knitting gets you off to a fantastic start of you week!

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