New poll! How often do you make a gauge swatch? Be honest!
Hi kids. I'm (finally!) posting the last photos from my Netherlands trip. Miriam and I went to the Knit Night in Lofen on the final night of my journey. I had the delight of arriving to find Bert wearing a sweater he had made from my Skull chart. He was one of the first to request it when I took it offline, and it made me feel special that he had worn it to meet me. His left-of-center placement of the skull and choice of my favorite color (green) endeared him to me even more. His next skull will be in pink lurex! Can't wait. If you're searching for the skull chart yourself, you can e-mail me to request it. It is still free, for now ...
We all had a great time that might in Lofen holed up in a woodsy old supper club that had good coffee AND beer and wine. We need more of those stateside! I hear that since my visit, the owner has asked the knitters to find another venue, expecting to earn more serving dinner than drinks. It's absurd considering how empty the place was that night. As you can see from the album, everyone wanted to try on the City Coat Miriam had just made. She's gone and made another one in black already, and it was a hit when she met the group in Roermond last week.
Frankly, I haven't found a Bay Area knitting group I've gelled with yet, but do hope to soon. My friend Saloni has opened up a knitting shop in San Mateo, Nine Rubies knitting, which is an absolutely beautiful shop, clean, bright, and well stocked. They'll be having a weekly Social Knitting Night there on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 PM, and I do hope to pop in for a visit, maybe even tonight.
I'm still here, working really hard on the domiKNITrix book. I know the blog has been a little sparse of late, but hey, I'm putting a strain on my body with all the knitting and typing. So the site will be a little light until the project wraps up at the end of this month, or I might just crumble. The final deadline is almost here, and I am busting my hump, literally, to get it all done. I could use a little finishing help, if anyone out there has some spare time, bad-ass finishing skills AND is local to me in San Francisco.
Have you ever thought about what's involved in writing a pattern? However difficult you may think it might be, multiply that by your lucky number and that's about right. Those of you thinking of writing a knitting book, write, size, and test the patterns first. You really don't want to be doing those on deadline!
Happy New Year everyone! I've just returned from the most fabulous trip to the Netherlands to visit my good friend Miriam Tegels, Holland's fastest knitter, soon to be the world's!
Miriam is a knitting superstar by any measure, and a warm and welcoming hostess. She and her wonderful family welcomed me into their homes over the Christmas holiday. Miriam's wonderful husband, Frans, tended to our every need, preparing tasty meals and anything else he could imagine so Miriam and I could cram maximum knitting into our holiday together. I roomed with their daughter Gwen, who's got a great personal style all her own. She so admired the stripe slant scarf that I left it for her as a parting gift.
We kicked off the visit by completing the City Coat sample that Miriam had been knitting for the upcoming domiKNITrix book. Just to give you an idea how incredibly fast she is, this coat was knitted in 30 hours time! She was eager for me to wear the completed coat to mass on Christmas eve. In the first gallery shots, you'll see me sewing the zipper on by machine while Miriam hand sews the collar on the right. Now that's what we call synergy! We worked down to the wire and were still on time for mass! The Coat kept me warm through the mass where Miriam' and Frans' choir sang a lovely program of intriguing holiday tunes.
Then we joined the rest of the extended Tegels family at Frans' brother Henk's pub just down the street, where we had the place all to ourselves. I was witness to some hilarious family traditions which included the younger generation waiting on their parents and the rest of us and a "Yo-hoooooo..." contest where the kid who held his note the longest took away the trophy until next year. I also enjoyed having a long chat about the creative process with Rick, an Australian painter who was also a guest there. Oh, and did I mention the dunkelbier? We don't have beer like that in the US. Dark and rich and sweet, not stout and bitter like the English and Irish dark beers. Yummy!
The next day, we had a lovely walk in the countryside and were caught in the first snow of the season. Once home and warmed by hot chocolate, Miriam and I hammered out many lines of pattern together. She's also been working on the Elfin Goth for me, and the 9 hour time difference has meant that before this visit, when she hit a snag in the pattern, she would wait at least a day for my answer so she could continue. That's like leaving a thoroughbred racehorse tied to the fence! But now we were able to work side by side. I would read the pattern to her and she knit almost as fast as I read! Then when we found a problem in the pattern we could work it out on the spot and continue. Instant gratification!
I came away with a newfound respect for the Tegels family, so warm and close-knit themselves that the whole extended family lives within just a few miles, uncommon even for Holland. Oh, and of course, I got her to show me how she knits so darned fast! Retraining my hands is not easy, but I get a little faster each day. Thank you, Miriam! And thank you to the entire family for welcoming me so warmly. I had a fantastic time, but that's obvious from the grin plastered on my face in every shot!
Great news!! The domiKNITrix trademark is now mine! Thank you, US Patent and Trademark Office. I now own rights to the name domiKNITrix, the tagline "Whip your knitting into shape" and the wonderful tattoo-inspired mark you see to the left. I'm a happy girl!
I know I've mentioned a few times that I'm writing a book, but haven't gone into too much detail since I'm saving my words for the book! Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?
But maybe you'd like to know a little more about it, so I'll take precious time away from the book and its many projects and patterns to explain. My first book deadline is Tuesday, 11/15 (!) so this is blatant procrastination on my part.
Way back in May, I got an e-mail from an acquisitions editor asking if I had considered writing a book! Well, sure I had, but, busy girl that I am, probably wouldn't have gotten off my ass and done anything about it if she hadn't contacted me. She is a knitter herself, and had been searching online for some help with the mattress stitch. She nailed the technique using my page and got through her project with ease, and then went on to devour the rest of my site.
So I dedicated a few weekends to putting together a book proposal that wowed her and the sales and marketing team. As she said when she called me back about the proposal, "This is a very ambitious project." That is absolutely true, dear readers, because I wouldn't waste my time on anything less. I guess you could say I'm an overachiever. I've updated the projects page to reflect which designs currently on this site will be included in the book, so you can start building the excitement for me. Of course there are also new designs, never seen before by anyone but my pals and the sample knitters making new versions of them for the book. Those shall remain surprises until the book hits the stands next Fall.
I'll be on deadline until March, so thank you so much for NOT asking, "Are you done yet?" My wonderful father asked just that question when we last spoke and the words uttered in response were rude and profane. Hey, that's the way he raised us, to speak our minds without reservation to those we love and trust. He knows I love him and that will never change, but yes, I did apologize.
Hoo-boy, I've got a lot of balls in the air right now. Phew! No one ever said writing a knitting book would be easy.
What do I do with my days? For starters, I'm currently writing patterns for the City Coat, the Elfin Goth, and the L'il Red Riding Hoodie. Sound hard? Don't forget that the City Coat is knit sideways, the Elfin Goth is knit diagonally, and the Hoodie is knit from bottom to top.
When I'm not working on the patterns, I'm contacting yarn companies to request the yarn needed for the book samples, and working with my awesome sample knitters to be sure they're making progress with the yarn and patterns I've sent out. I have been absolutely delighted to work with Brown Sheep, Classic Elite, Crystal Palace, Karabella, KnitPicks and Muench. They have all been extremely friendly and responsive to my pleas for yarn and color cards. I am disappointed, however, that Baabajoes, has been completely unresponsive (i.e. won't give me the dignity of ANY reply). Somewhere in the midst of all this business, I've managed to pen a few words here and there. After all, I am writing a book!
In the meantime, we've cranked out another new chart for you! My favorite revolutionary, Che Guevara is back! You'll find his chart in the photo box above. Sadly, there is a lot of bandwidth theft going on out there on community sites like Live Journal and My Space. Bloggers who don't know any better have been direct linking to the photo URL's, which distorts my web statistics and wastes my bandwidth. Can someone tell me why they would want a gridded skull as a background when a Google image search reveals many other skull options? Check out this page to learn the RIGHT way to post images on your own blog, from Missa, the Midnight Knitter who runs the KPixie online yarn shop.
I know you must think I've had a lazy summer, what with the blog being so sparse and all. Au contraire, my friends, I have been a busy bee behind the scenes, working out the last details of my book contract and marshalling a knitting army to make fresh new samples of the designs you know and love, as well as many exciting new designs for the book. See the image at left for a plethora of postmarks from my crew.
To my new readers in Poland and Sweden, big fat kisses! From my site statistics, I can see that my popularity is growing there. Well it's not me that's popular, it's my Elfin Goth. You guys just can't get enough of that sweater! Let's see how you feel about it once you have the pattern in your hands when my book comes out. This sweater was born somewhere between rocket science and insanity. I swore I would never make a pattern for it, thinking it's just too hard to make in different sizes. But I shall, and I think those of you who like a challenge are already chomping at the bit to make it. Tragically, the color I made the prototype from has been discontinued, so I've had to select a new color. That too shall remain a surprise for the book.
I've added some catty new web links to my links page. I prefer not to get too catty myself, but I'm happy to point you to some sites that trash hideous fashions, knitted and otherwise. Heaven forbid anything of mine should ever end up on You Knit What?
I finally had an opportunity to get out and photograph the Skull on my sexy husband. You've gotta love it when an adventure starts with "Hey! Grab the camera. We're going to the cemetery!" Funny thing is: the entry on my to-do list said "Shoot skull."
Anyhoo, please enjoy the pics of the Skull at the cemetery.
I've been soliciting for sample knitters for a few weeks now, to pretty good response. Even Holland's fastest knitter, Miriam Tegels, has offered to knit for me. I am honored. I expect to be getting back to folks soon with specific details and patterns. If you're dying to knit a sample, please contact me and let me know which design here you fancy. I think I'm going to give Miriam dibs on the Elfin Goth.