Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Favorite Socks

This week I have been working on another pair of my favorite socks.  They are very simple ribbed socks; worked two at a time on two circulars.  Now first the two circulars.  I learned early on that I need to have two different needles (difference in size and appearance).  Therefore, I use size 2 16" bamboo circulars to work the instep stitches on (they don't increase once sock has reach full circumference).  My second set of needles are a size 2 24" stainless steel circular to work sole stitches.  This is because these stitches will increase to work the gusset and then turn the heel and decrease back to the original number of stitches once the heel is turned.  Now I know from experience my sock work in finger yarn, on size 2 needles need to be 64 stitches in circumference for the majority of the sock.  This means 32 stitches on each size of each sock.  I start off using Judy's Magic Cast on for a total of 12 stitches for each sock (6 on each size/side of needles).  These are then increased using the standard M1R and M1L on each side of each side until there are 32 stitches (total of 64) on each side.  For my heel I do the standard slip stitch heel flap.  This means that one row is s1, k1 across on right side and s1, purl across on the wrong side.  I do not work ribbing on the sole but do on the instep once the sock reaches the total of 64 stitches on the toe.  I also know that my socks need to measure 7 1/2" from beginning of toe to beginning of heel /gusset increases.  By splitting a 100gram ball into two 50gram balls I can also work the socks until I reach the desired height up the calf or run out of yarn.  If I wish to make my socks identical I can also match up color runs at the beginning.  However, since I tend to not really care if my socks match I don't always do this.  After all as Cookie A says "They are only socks and at the end of the day someone is going to put them in their shoe and they won't even be seen", (or something along those lines).  By using this simple formula, I really don't even need to have a pattern to make a pair of socks.  However, if I want to use some sort of pattern I use the same formula but fit the pattern in on the instep stitches and up the leg one the heel is finished.  The basic sock remains the same.  This is because I know these socks feet my foot perfectly.  I really do like the feel of my handknit socks and would wear nothing else if I could but don't quite have enough yet.  This current pair are a grey colorway using Debbie McCumber's Blossom Street Sock Yarn from Universal Yarns. (Discontinued unfortunately).  This yarn makes very soft socks that I just love.  This will be my third pair using this yarn, a first.  Usually like to try different yarns but these just feel so good.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

I Am Back (For Real This Time"

After four and half months I finally once again have internet service at home.
So just what have I been doing this summer.  Well to begin with I have done a lot of knitting and crocheting.  I did two craft shows so far to sell some of the stuff I have made.  One was Christmas in July at Bob Jone High School parking lot in July (only thing I can say about that one was IT WAS HOT).  Then recently I did the Madison Street Festival at the Artist Cove.  It was lousy weather but that actually help my sales as I sold a lot of hats, scarves, and fingerless mitts.  I still have two more shows to get through.  One I have stuff on consignment and the other is the Kris Krigle Market at the Skate Insanity complex right before Thanksgiving so hopefully will do well.  I have only developed a couple of headband patterns and have not written them up yet.
My other creative adventures were to do dabbling in painting and to start a small garden plot at the apartment complex.  Luckily because my apartment complex is for elderly people they let us do what they call enrichment activities and gardening is one of these activities.  Several years ago a few of the local churches build some high raised beds (waist-high) and I am using one of them as well as some old recycled tires.  Right now I have cold weather crops planted.  Will change out the selection in February to other cold weather crops and then in April and May will change to warm weather crops.
All three activities keep my creative juices flowing and also are good stress relievers.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Still do not have internet connected at home but am posting this from the site of the on-line yarn shop where I work.  I did get the free stitch marker pattern posted to my Ravelry pattern shop (Sharon Cowan Designs) as well as a new knitted summer kerchief made out of Berroco Linsey which is a cotton/linen blend that is great for summer scarves/shawls/wraps.  I have also submitted two new crochet designs to my friend Shari McGraw for her on-line E-zine called Entwined.  So even though I have been missing from the internet have been getting some things done.  I am currently working on gifts for two of my great neices.  One is having a baby next month and the other one is getting married. 
Here is a pic of the new Kerchief design in my Ravelry pattern shop.  I called it the Ponderosa Kerchief because the stitch dictionary called the lace pattern a pinecone pattern.

Well until I get another chance to post.  Here's to happy stitching or playing with fiber however you enjoy.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Checked Off Items From My Bucket List

Yesterday took a break from my packing chores and got to check somethings off my bucket list.  First item was to finally make it to Stitches South.  This has been something I have wanted to do for over three years.  I finally got to go even if it was only for one day.  This is what allowed me to check some items off my list.  If you have never been to a Stitches Event and you are a knitter, crocheter, spinner, weaver, or just like to pet nice fibers you really need to attend at least once even if only for a day.
The first item check off my list (other than attending Stitches) was to meet the designer, author, yarn developer, and just all around creative person Kristin Omdahl.  For a number of years I have followed her through Knitting Daily TV (have had to buy the dvds as my cable channel did not carry the show).  I have also purchased a number of her books and patterns.  About two years ago after purchasing her book A Finer Edge I created a granny square triangle shawl but needed a pretty edging.  There was one in her book that I thought was just ideal so I emailed her and asked if I could incorporate it in the pattern design AND She said yes.  The result was my pattern called Granny Meets Kristin and the two shawls that I made using the pattern.  When she brought out her line of yarns recently I purchased a skein of the first one Bamboo So Fine and got the ebook of patterns as well.  I really liked the one she had made using Coral but wanted to work it in the Ameythst so I did.  Yesterday I not only got to meet Kristin and like a really nerdy fan have her sign her most recent book that I had purchased, but I got to show off my shawls and actually have Granny (me) meet Kristin.  Here is a picture of the moment.                                            
With Kristin Omdahl at Stitches South 2015 in Nashville, TN

Another unexpected item on my bucket list was to pet a ball of Vicuna.  Any fiber enthusiast in the know realizes that this is a luxury yarn that most of us will never add to our stash but we all can dream.  It is very soft. 
I also got to meet another favorite designer Tammy Hildebrand who was hanging out with Amy Shelton at the Crochetville Booth.  Sure hope Amy can arrange to have her come and do a class or two for the local knitter/crocheter crowd.  Besides she is a fellow redhead so I know she is a real blast to be around.  
Because of my moving did not have a lot of money to spend.  Had a very strict limit of $50 for the day plus a little extra that I got from selling some of my stuff.  I did find a really nice small project bag for a friend from Erin Lane Bags.  Not the one designed by Kristin that I had wanted to get but another one with cats that she will enjoy just as much.  For myself I bought an inexpensive sheep pin made with wool fiber and wood and a new felted pet alpaca that I need to name.  My friend Amy Shelton call the two she carries around with her Swatch and Gauge but I need to come up with something different.  May have to ask one of my Spanish speaking friends for suggestions. 
Plus I also took part in the Inaugural Stitch Marker Swap and met some really nice friends and got some nice special stitch markers.
It was a really special day but long, however will do again next year but for longer (I hope).  Yes, Stitches South will be back in Nashville next year.   Next year will be from March 31 to April 3 so make plans to join me there.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Moving Preparation Continues

I have not been writing any patterns or doing any new pattern work because of the preparation toward moving into my new apartment.  Did get a load of stuff down to the storage unit last week.  Also met with the apartment manager and got the final word on the amount of rent and deposit needed to move in.  She did decide to give me a different unit.  Thankfully this one is closer to the elevator and the laundry room.  Both good things.  It also has a new wood floor but it sure is small.  However, in the long run that is a good thing to because it will be much easier for me to take care of, particularly as I get even older.  I have also been making more stitch markers.  These are going to be a free pattern eventually.  I am making 150 of them to take with me to Stitches South next Saturday.  This will be my very first trip to Stitches South and I can hardly wait.  Really can't afford to spend any money there unless I sell my king-size bedroom furniture which I am trying to do.  I have a queen-size suite that I will be using in the new apartment.  There are time when I am boxing things up when I wished I could just wiggle my nose and have it all boxed up and moved to the apartment or the storage unit.  However, hopefully this will be the very last move I have to make in my life where I have to worry with packing.  If I have to move again it will be into a nursing home.
Here are some the stitch markers that I am working on.  These are for the knitters but will also have some for the crocheters.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

My Blog Returns

After an almost two year hiatus because trying to keep up with blog during recovery from life style changes, have decided to try to resume posting at least weekly to my creative blog just to mark milestones in my knitting/crocheting life.  Some things I want to focus on is my own design process as well as my creations from other designers' creative process.  There are several wonderful designers whose work I follow and hope to one day emulate.  Current wips are:
1. a double knitting scarf I have been working on for two years using one of the charts from Lucy Neatby's ebook Doubly Delicious Scarf: A Collection of Six Designs of Varying Degrees of Complexity
2.  Inflorescence Shawl one of the many shawl designs from Shawls from Sock Yarn
3.  Another Boneyard Shawl from Stephen West this one is made using Kauni because I wanted one using a gradient.
4.  Approximately 150 crocheted flower stitch markers that I am making for the stitch marker exchange at Stitches South 2015.
5.  A crocheted Intarsia scarf that I am designing using a cross-stitch pattern from Pinterest and using Laurinda Reddig's reversible color crochet technique.  The design is a black cat silhouette against a white background with a gray swirl behind the cat.  It also has a gray border.
6. And last is the Poseidon Shawl that was started in June 2013 just after my husband Bo's death.  Don't know if that is the reason it is taken me so long to finish it or if it is just that it has a lot of beads that are added one at a time was you work the shawl (a very time intensive process).
Check out my Ravelry project page to see what I have posted.  My rav username is scowan4738.
I have not gotten a chance to do much designing the last couple of months because the LYS where I work has stopped being a brick-and-mortar shop and going on-line until all the current stock is gone then it will cease to exist.  Myself and the other employees have been busy getting everything moved out of the physical shop and into indoor/climate controlled storage units.  Myself and another employee will continue working handling the actual on-line process.  However, before we can do that we have to finish the inventory that did not get finished before we actually moved and then get everything organized so that we can (1) list things on-line and (2) find things when they are sold.
In addition to moving the shop I am also preparing to move my home.  I have finally come to the conclusion that a 3 bedroom/2 bath house setting on 3/4 of acre is just to much for this old woman to handle.  Therefore, I am beginning a new phase of my life by moving into a one bedroom/one bath senior living apartment.  Found one that is for low-income and allows pets so Lily (my little dog) can go with me.  I have a month to downsize, pack and move all my stuff.  Already reached the decision that at least for awhile, I will need a storage unit myself.  Looking at getting a 5' X 10" unit in the same facility that the boss is using, or something the same caliber near the apartment.  Since what will need to be stored is yarn and possibly books it will need to be indoors to protect from climate extremes and unwanted critters.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Magic Numbers and Color Blending

My most recent project experiments have been to use two of designer/yarn producer Laura Bryant's techniques.  The first is a shell sweater knit using her color blending technique.  The pattern is a simple stockinette shell with a garter stitch drapey cowl at the front neck.  The yarn I chose is Fyberspate Scrumptious Lace which was originally natural but I dyed it in three colors: light gray, china blue, and a light brown.  The first piece worked is the back.  To work the color blending technique I started using three strands of the light gray.  After 3 inches I dropped one strand of the gray and added one strand of the china blue (2 gray, 1 blue).  After 3 inches I dropped another strand of gray and added a strand of the china blue (1 gray, 2 blue).  After 3 inches I will drop the last strand of gray and add one of the china blue (3 blue).  I will knit the 3 blue for another 3 inches.  Sweater measures 12 inches.  At this point I will drop one of the blue strands and add one strand of the brown (2 blue, 1 brown).  I will knit 3 inches (at 14 1/2 inches will also begin armhole shaping) and then drop another blue strand and add one brown (1 blue, 2 brown).  The back now measures 15 inches.  Next I drop the last blue and knit for the remainder of the back using three strands to brown.  The front will be worked with the same color blending technique.  This technique produces an ombre tweed effect.  I am currently at the 2 blue, 1 gray stage of the back.
The second Laura Bryant technique is one based on her latest book and uses what she calls Magic Numbers to produce an argyle effect when knit or crocheted with hand dyed yarn.  The first step is to determine the type of hand dyed yarn you are working with.  The yarns I am currently using are my own hand dyed and are dyed-around as opposed to dyed across.  Then you need to determine the length of one color repeat.  This gives you the magic number for that skein of yarn.  Next using that number plus one I crocheted this scarf.

 Now I am working on a knitted version.  This time I am only using 1/2 the magic number minus one.  This will make a narrower scarf and a zig-zag pattern instead of the arygle.
I also completed a baby hat for a friend knit with several strands of novelty yarn held together and worked are size 15 needles.
It looks a little odd on this styrofoam head because it is an adult size.  On a baby this will be more of a hood style hat.
Tomorrow I need to get yarn to start a couple more class samples (crocheted socks and something else).