Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Debating centimetres



Centimetres, they give me a good deal of trouble in pattern writing! If I was queen of the world everyone would work in cm. They make much more sense to me and are easier to work with in knitting as they give a smaller unit of measurement without having to be broken up. Sadly I'm not the queen of the world and a good deal of the world, at least in the knitting market, is used to operating in inches.

Inches, they give me a good deal of trouble in pattern writing! I want a piece to be x cm long and it always converts to x,something-odd inches. Could we please just all become part of the Knitmoregirls' metric revolution??!! Pretty please...

Now I'm debating going strictly centimetres or strictly inches in my patterns, because including both, which I have thus far to make it easy for you no matter what you are used to, is simple proving to be a looooot of work.

One of the patterns I'm currently writing up has 10 sizes (see I'm all about making it easy for you), which translates to 20, TWENTY, different measurements every. single. time. That isn't easy for me and certainly not for you either!

What do you think? Should I stick to my roots and go cm only? Maybe go international with only inches?  Or should I just stop wining and keep giving both?

Monday, 20 October 2014

#NUCRAL - Lesson 4, Sleeves and Shoulders

Carol Feller's class on short rows is the first class of the #NUCRAL. The idea behind the a-long is to share progress, swatches, questions and idea. Basically, I needed an accountability partner and figured you might too.

We've made it to lesson 4, if you've just joined us, then please check out lesson 1, 2 and 3.

Are you ready for a confession? Alright then, here we go: I didn't actually swatch for this lesson. This means I don't really have any pictures to show you, but don't fret I still have a lot to say about the lesson.

First, lets get to why I didn't swatch this time around. There are several reasons:
1) I was busy sewing in ends on a design while watching.
2) I had just worked short rows as a part of the shoulders on said design.
3) I had also just used a 3-needle-bind-off on said design.

Enough with my excuses already, lets get to the chapters.

Chapter 1 - Shoulder slopes

The short row method makes for a much cleaner finish than the stair step effect of the bind-off method. It makes the piece seem more coherent in my eyes, whereas the bind-off can at times look like you just cut off a part of your knitting. On a design I'm working on at the moment, I used short rows to shape the back of the shoulders only and it made for a really nice finish. I'm  so pleased I've learned the Japanese method in time for those short rows. The wraps became much smaller and aren't really visible, even on the wrong side, at all. 

Chapter 2 - Three needle bind-off

If you aren't familiar with this method then be ready to be amazed. This technique is so simple, yet elegant. I tend to use it all the time because I'm to lazy I prefer knitting to sewing any day. As I mentioned, I used it to join some cables on the design I'm plucking away at.

Chapter 3 - The set in sleeve

The only concept in this lesson I haven't used before was the actual short row, set in sleeve, but when you've worked short rows before, then there really isn't anything to it. Just watching Carol  do it made me confident I could too and the little detail she includes (you'll have to watch to know what I'm talking about here) makes it look very stylish. I'm determined to try it out on a sweater soon.

Now, let me know what you think.. Have you done short row shoulders or set in sleeves before?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Purple Knight Baby sweater - Pattern now available!

It is with great pleasure that I'm releasing the pattern for the Purple Knight baby sweater today. This pattern was one of those that just had to be knit. The pattern, if you recall is inspired by my parents' bedspread and I have to say the mix of colours will make this pattern work for any little knight or princess in your life.



Baby Erik was by far the cutest model I've used so far and I might cast on more designs for children, just to have him model them. I know his parents wouldn't mind getting more knits either.



Purple Knight is a bottom up raglan sweater with all the colour work inclosed, so no tiny fingers will get stuck. The pattern is wonderful for using up leftovers and different colours will create very different expressions, just take a look at Mimi's stunning sweater:


When knitting for babies, I recommend taking both the season and their size into consideration. It is always better to knit something larger than expected, so the child can grow into it. Baby Erik is 6,5 mo in the photos and modelling a size 12 mo, which should fit him perfectly this winter. 


All the stats are on the Ravelry page and the pattern can be yours for 30 DKK. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The True Cost

Money. We all need it, but it's a subject most avoid talking about like the plague. This post is partly spurred by Woolly Wormhead's brilliant post on The true costs of a pattern and her follow up post. Please go read them both. I think they should be mandatory reading for any knitter/crocheter/craftsperson.

Making it in the pattern design world is tough folks. Making a living, whew... that is almost impossible. Before I got into the world of designing, I had no idea and while I now have some inkling of what there is to it, I'm still a far cry from the insight Woolly Wormhead can provide you with.

What I can chime in with are my own two cents. Oh wait, that's right, I don't have two cents to rub together. I do of course have some money, what I'm talking about is money made on patterns.

Recently, I gathered up my courage and made a big scary spreadsheet of income and expenses. My expenses so far have been limited. No yarn, no needles, no fees for anything really. What I have spent money on is a few Craftsy classes, hoping to improve my skills and thus the final patterns I can present to you guys.

The following should be prefaced by telling you, that I have made twice what I hoped to this year. You should also know i had very low expectations. Nonetheless: I'm severely in the red and thankful this is not what has to pay my bills.

Hopefully, the income will grow as I publish more patterns. I mean, how much can you expect to earn off of two patterns, right?! What is important here is not wether or not I make it in this business. This post has a greater good in view.

As mentioned, it takes a lot to make a living and you should know, that more or less no matter how much a designer is charging for a pattern, you are getting it way cheaper than it should be. I love free just as much as the next guy, but I'm also beginning to understand, how spending just a few dollars for something you'll really value, will make a big difference in a designer's life.  

Please take every opportunity you have to buy from independent designers, yarnies and crafters alike. Like Nadia of Abso-knitting-lutely, Marie of Frogged Designs or me:



SIMPLE WITH A TWIST 
DKK 15,00

Monday, 13 October 2014

#NUCRAL - Lesson 3, Japanese and Yarn Over

Carol Feller's class on short rows is the first class of the #NUCRAL. The idea behind the a-long is to share progress, swatches, questions and idea. Basically, I needed an accountability partner and figured you might too.

We've made it to lesson 3, you can read about lesson 1 and 2 here.

Chapter 1 - Japanese Short Rows

Eureka! While this is a little fiddly, the wraps is much smaller. Neither me nor my mum have ever seen this method before, but it seems really promising.  Have you used it?


Chapter 2 - Working the Wrap

This proved a tiny bit fiddly as well, but entirely worth it. As you can see the result is very neat for my first try ever. 


Here is my swatch at this stage:




Chapter 3 - The Yarn Over Short Row

This method is not for me. I'm not sure if it is easier to work if you are a thrower, for me, a picker it was just annoying, especially compared to the 3 previous methods. The result, however, turned out okay.


Now that we've worked all the methods and completed our swatch (you did do a swatch, right?!), let me know what your favourite method is in the comments. Mine would have to be the Japanese!


Come back next Monday to read my notes on the use of short rows in garments and share yours. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Frogged Designs - Knitting bag review

Besides being a wonderful knitter, Marie over at Frogged Designs is a great seamstress. Her motto is stilvoll stricken or for those of you who don't read German, knit in style. Marie has a shop with project bags, needles cases and more, that certainly allows you to do just that. Recently, she sent me a bag in a lovely black and white print. To me this fabric is a picture of a birch tree forrest in a pitch black night, lit up by stars. I knew from the fabric alone that I would love the bag.


There is, however, so much more to the bag than just the nice fabric. It's lined and has a layer of vliseline (matting) between the two layers of fabric, making it very sturdy, but also soft. I have no worries of needles pocking holes in the fabric (yes, that may have happened to me with other project bags).



The bag has a flat bottom, sit up on its own and closes with drawstrings. No seams are exposed and everything looks as though it has been neatly pressed before being sewed. The bag has a handy loop with the Frogged Designs label and a keychain ring. This makes it easy to attach it to another bag, should you want to.


I believe my bag is the medium size, and while not large enough to haul an entire sweater around, it worked just fine for a large shawl, that I dragged back and forth on my commute for a while.


Marie sent along a few goodies as well, and my man really appreciated the chocolate, while I've been enjoying the tea and stitch markers.


There are still some things left in Marie's shop after her most recent update (October 6th). Go check them out and let her know I sent you. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Abso-Knitting-Lutely Interview and Discount Code


Nadia, we need an icebreaker so tell us, what is on your sticks?
That’s a loaded question! I have a few WIPs going at the moment including the beautifully lacy Koi Rama shawl I started last Christmas. It is basically finished, but I haven’t woven in the ends yet because I want to undo a whole pattern repeat to add alterations. I am a perfectionist! Other than that I have some socks on the go for Christmas presents. My family have suddenly developed a taste for my socks and some of them ask for a new pair every year.

Which knitwear (or crochet) designer do you have a crush on at the moment?
I no longer do, I have to admit! The first designer whose work I really loved was Cookie A. who designs fantastic socks. I still love those, but I tend to no longer love designers, only some individual pieces they design. No matter who it is, there is usually a design I will love, but also lots from that person that don’t interest me at all, so I focus on the item instead of the designer nowadays.

Stitch Markers
See that broke the ice, didn’t it? I feel like I already know you better, so let’s talk business, Nadia. How did you come up with the name for your business?
Pure luck and TV, I have to say! I have always been very good with words most of the time so coming up with a good name wasn’t too hard. At the time, I was setting up my blog and needed a name. I came up with Abso-knitting-lutely because I had just seen a trailer for Sex and the City. I never watched the series, but that trailer ended with Carrie saying, “Abso-fucking-lutely.” That sparked the idea for Abso-knitting-lutely and I love how positive the message is: it’s knitting, absolutely, and I love it.

I know you from your adorable stitch markers, but you make and sell other things as well, don’t you?
Yes, I do. My stitch markers are my main product, but I also design knitting patterns sometimes. I should really do that more often to be able to offer more variety. In spring I took a class to learn how to design shawls, which was really helpful, so I hope to make one soon. Apart from my stitch markers, row counter bracelets and knitting needles, I sometimes make beaded jewellery too, but only for my Dawanda shop.
When and why did you start selling your creations
The timing was just right. I resisted for a long time because I never wanted to be self-employed. It’s too unreliable and unpredictable and I would rather have the (relative) security of knowing I’m regularly going to get paid a certain amount at a certain time. However, we hit a recession just as I came to the UK and, despite good qualifications, I had to move from one bad short-term job to the next with low pay and terrible hours until I was made redundant. By 2012 I was so frustrated and stressed from always looking for the next job that I decided to take a break and just set up my business instead. Not only does it keep me occupied, but I get to do what I enjoy. I bet this is a familiar story to many who suffered through the recession.

Do you sell your beautiful wares in different places or stick to your Etsy store?
I have three online shops at the moment. The main one is on Etsy and you can get to it directly via www.absoknittinglutely.com. This shop focuses on supplies for knitting and crochet. I also have a knitting pattern shop on Ravelry and fairly recently added a shop on Dawanda in order to access the German market. Since I am German myself, I feel I should connect with my customers there as well.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Usually, I’ll see something that will spark an idea for a new design. I like googling for pictures when I want to make something new, until I come across something that I know can be easily rendered in polymer clay. Food and animals always make great stitch markers. My customers also make suggestions from time to time or ask for custom orders, which then makes me try out some new things I hadn’t considered yet. There are lots of things I would like to make which I decided against at some point simply because the stitch marker would have been too fragile or too difficult to make. Sometimes I’ll have to make alterations and simplify a design just so it will be practical for use and still look cute. As long as it is colourful and cheerful, I’m happy!

What is your favourite item to make and why?
Hm, that’s a tough one. I don’t think there is any particular item I like to make more than others. My favourite is always the latest design I have in mind because it’s new and I need to figure out a way to make it that will work. What I like best about that process is changing the design a little here and there until it is just right. I get bored very quickly if I only make something I have already made before. It’s the same when I knit: I never really knit the same thing twice.

How much time do you devote to your business each week?
I work on it throughout the day, including evenings. On some days I work fulltime and then there are days on which I do very little because I have enough stock and only need to get orders ready when they come in. Most of my day every day is taken up with promoting my work on social media, my blog, and other platforms. Twitter has proven to be extremely useful and you can find me on a few Twitter hours throughout the week such as #HandmadeHour.

And finally, what are your goals and dreams for your business?
A while ago I took a class on how to teach craft workshops. That is something I would love to do. Originally, before I set up my business, I worked at university and also taught a few classes there. I realised I’m actually pretty good at teaching although I never ever wanted to be a teacher. I would love to teach knitting and spinning at some point and really have to start working on lesson plans and samples if I want to get started. A really big dream of mine is to have another book published. My first one has nothing to do with crafts at all and is all about my academic work. Now I would love to compile a book of knitting patterns, either by myself or in collaboration with someone else.

I would like to say a  BIG thank you to Nadia for sharing a little about herself and her business here with us. 
Nadia is offering all of you a coupon code for 20% off everything in her Etsy shop and get this, it is good for the next 2 months. Plenty of time to get some stocking stuffers or nice little gifts for the fibre  loving people in your life, or treat yourself to some new needle bling.

The code for 20% off from October 8th to December 8th is ULDENT20.