I have not abandoned mittens.

Let me be clear on that. Mittens are not done. I will knit mittens for the rest of my life. Mittens are neat little succulent cookies of knitting.

And to prove it, two new in-progress designs.

Oslo, the proceeds of which will go to victims of the horrible attacks. This is an old design of pierced selburoses surrounded by dancers. I’ve worked a small chain before the main hand. The message is of community and togetherness.

Caught in a Web, another old design. Annemor calls the main pattern spiders in pine boughs. Clever weavers making their homes in evergreen.  It was a popular pattern for wedding gifts. I have placed coins on the palm and chained roses for love on the thumb.

What are you knitting?

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Brambles

My upcoming collection Botanica has a new member.  Brambles is a many-use design. Wear it as a shrug, a wrap, or use as a lap or baby blanket.   Rectangles are so useful, aren’t they?

The design inspiration comes from the thick brambles that surrounded Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  I had a dream several years ago, about a courtyard garden that just needed some bramble clearing and loving care to bloom.  New growth often requires clearing out the old to make room for the new. Here I am turning old dead canes into a soft, protective cocoon.

I’m using a very simple allover cable, suggesting layers of undulating, wrapping, enveloping vines. The edges are worked in seed stitch.

The yarn is the incredible Imperial Stock Ranch Desert Exotic in natural brown. A luxurious blend of 60% Imperial’s own Columbia sheep’s wool and 40% North American alpaca, the yarn is rich, lush, luxurious.  Columbia wool comes from Columbia sheep a rare breed specifically developed for the Western Untied States conditions.  I love that this yarn combines locally sourced fibers; it speaks of the land, of the terroir, as much as a wine or coffee do. The wool provides a springy, secure base, while the alpaca blooms into a soft, rich halo.

The color is darker than the bleached brambles of my dream, but more realistic. And besides, it’s beautiful, goes with everything, and was in my stash.

Imperial Stock Ranch is located in eastern Oregon.  I have not contacted them, I purchased my yarn at full retail several years ago on a teaching trip.  So with that in mind, I love everything I have learned about Imperial Stock Ranch.  They produce an incredible product, market and distribute it well, while maintaining sustainable practices.  I hope Imperial’s practices can become a model for other small ranchers and producers to follow.

As a family-owned ranch, we believe an ever-improving landscape leads to a healthy ranch economy, which in turn directly contributes to the vitality of our local and regional community. We invite you to be collaborators in the process by enjoying the fibers, garments and educational partnerships offered by the Imperial Stock Ranch. Together, we’ll move toward a sustainable future. (Imperial website)

I found this video while Googling for more on Imperial. Enjoy!

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Lichen, Digital Publishing, etc.

Thanks for the thoughts, guys.  I’m leaning toward going digital for Botanica. 

But BEFORE I DO.  Remind me to finish the pattern for Eskimo!  Need to get it to Piecework ASAP.

And when that is out the door, I’ll get back to work on the Red Sweater and her brother, Lichen.  Lichen is a men’s (unisex) pullover vest, with cabled ribbing and Half Brioche body stitch.  The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Superwash Merino in colorway Birch.  It’s very soft, very squooshy, and very mindfull knitting.  The colors split and splattered across the surface of the fabric remind me of lichen on an old stone wall.

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Digital publishing?

Is print still the best way to publish? I’m starting to wonder. The basement is full of books already, so to grow my business I need to either buy some warehousing, or change how I think about the product I sell.

I can get terrific markup on black and white printing, but to go color is more expensive, therefore larger print runs are necessary to reduce the cost per copy. Then I need increased distribution to move those booklets out the door. Digital books are selling for just a few dollars per download, which sounds like pure profit (no printing costs, etc) but really, the printing isn’t the problem. It’s the profit margin, which gets split in half at every step of the sales chain. To make money off ebooks, you need to sell a lot.

Can I price an ebook to earn as much profit as I earn when I wholesale a paper book?

Question: Do you, or would you, buy digital-only knitting pattern collections? And if so (if I may be blunt) how much would you pay? Consider a booklet collection with a dozen patterns.

(I hear the buzz. Do you have a dozen new patterns you’ve been holding out on us? I’m working on it. Hesh up.)

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The Red Sweater

stitch pattern detailI have the hardest time coming up with creative design names.  I can make a swatch, a sketch, write instructions, layout the page, but ask me to name the sweater and I choke.

Such is life.

This beauty has been in progress for a while, and those of you who remember the old blog might recognize the colors.  It’s an original design in the traditional Norwegian spirit. 

Red Sweater work in progressKnit in the fantastic Rauma Finullgarn (which I adore and highly recommend) at 8.5spi, it’s a slow project, but oh! so worth the effort.  I have shifted the colors in stripes, like mottled light filtered through leafy trees.  The finished pullover will also have green embroidery on the centers of the pine bough clusters.  Overall the impression is bold and exciting.  I can’t wait to wear this sweater!

The original sketch.

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Books!

The first copies of Norwegian Knitting Design arrived today. My printer made a special 45 minute trip to deliver about 250 copies that I can ship to my retail buyers while we wait for the special ordered case boxes from the manufacturer. Self publishers, or even if you’ve ever considered self publishing, call Vincent at Snohomish Publishing. He is terrific. Preorder buyers, I should have all orders shipped next week. Thank you so much for your support.

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Norwegian Knitting Designsis a smallish book, about 7X9″ but packed with amazing charts taken directly from traditional Norwegian knitters. Please order your copy today and help continue this wonderful tradition.

I’m exerpting and updating a beautiful sweater pattern from NKD for Piecework Magazine. My book sample is beautiful, but I didn’t really follow or write a pattern. I just winged it. I’m knitting another sample and documenting what I do this time. I believe this design, first published in URD Magazine, a Norwegian publication, is the first documented pattern for a top down yoked sweater. I have read rumors and seen photos of the Knitting Madonnas, knitting Jesus’ seamless garment, and it is shown as a sweater knit in the round. If anyone knows more, I’d love to hear from you.

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Some actual spinning

Ok, so once I pulled out a wheel from the rubble known as my office-slash-studio? It already had a bobbin and a half of mystery wool on deck. So I finished that second bobbin and plied this hunk o’ gorgeousness. I call it Mystery Wool because it’s random amounts of God knows what breed that I sent off to the processor for blending. Don’t ask me what it is. It’s a mystery. Nice wool, though. I’d guess most of it is Corriedale-ish. Medium length, medium crimp, medium softness. It’s going to be a pinwheel blanket.

And I finished the vesty cardi thingie. Wanna see? I knew you would.



Of course, the best colors are right across the boobs. Happens every time.

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Tuesday is for spinning

Book is at the printer, finally, so today I reward myself with some spinning, a beautiful chocolate espresso brown romney that I bought at a Black Sheep Gathering some years ago. I had a m*th problem between then and now, and had to disassemble my drum carder to clean out all the casings, and the drive band stretched. Drat. In hopes of shrinking it down, I had a Brilliant Idea of hitting it with my garment steamer. Sadly, all this did was melt the glue on the drive band, and it popped in two. Crap. Ok, no problem. I have some two part epoxy (black and white make grey), a paper cup, and a toothpick handy. Mix it up, glob it on, and hold the seam in place with fiber strapping tape for a few days.

So no romney for me today. I’m substituting a latte colored CVM (also from BSG, maybe even the same year) which I sampled once upon a time, as a 4 ply cable construction. It’s soft yet crisp, and will make a gorgeous light weight aran.

And then I get an email from school. No hot lunch today, can I bring some lunch for Heather. Sigh. Tuesday is for spinning?

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Now what?

Norwegian Knitting Designs is off to the printer, and I am on to the next book. I have a couple of projects in mind, and I’m researching for some articles for Piecework. A knitter’s work is never done.

So of course, that means knitting for me. Behold Crunchy. It’s based on Croci by Cosette Cornelius-Bates, on Ravelry at Cosette Cornelius-Bates. The yarn is handspun, a roving made up of roving and batt ends that I bought at a Black Sheep Gathering in years past.

Below are some details of the crunchy yarn goodness.

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Ok to Print

image

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