Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And now time for something completely different


So, in the new Skein Theory (see my previous notes on Petiole), I had two patterns. The second of which is Mary Sue, a skirt pattern. This is my first time designing a garment to fit with multiple sizes (excluding hats and mitts, which are easy to size).

This was a fun pattern to do, and a skirt was a good into to sizing as there are fewer dimensions to size (but, hips, waist and length - no sleeves!). Now, I have developed a love for pleats in my sewing life. I love the look of pleats, be they knife pleats, box pleats, cartridge pleats, rolled pleats, stacked box pleats... you name it. And my favorite type of skirt are the knee length skirts with little kick pleats at the bottom. So I went into this design wanting to knit a skirt with box pleats.

This means casting on a gazillion stitches. Sigh. Several times of course. And then twisting your cast on, and only discovering 2 inches in. Sigh. There is a reason I ended up writing the pleat section flat... This is in the hopes that I will save others from my fits of ripping. One thing I was really happy on this pattern was that it didn't end up sucking up a ton of yarn, despite the pleats. This sample only took 5 skeins of this yarn. And it would be the same in something like Silk Wool from Elspeth Lavold. The pleat takes basically the same amount of yarn per size, so the yardage doesn't change drastically for the sizes, which is also nice.

by Miriam Pike

Sizes: XS (S, M, L)
Gauge: 5.5 stitches and 9 rows/rounds per inch / 2.5 cm in stockinette stitch using larger needle
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) and US 4 (3.5 mm)
Yarn: DK weight yarn, approximately 750 - 975 yds / 709 - 892 m
Yarn pictured: Sample shown in medium in Harrisville Designs Silk & Wool in “Sea Mist” # 207
Sample shown in size M

But I really enjoyed making this skirt, and hope other people will too.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Customizing Petiole

As I was desiging Petiole, I was struck by how many options there were for the shawl. How easy each section was to lengthen (or shorten) and all the fun things to do. With writing up the pattern, however, I ended up being limited by having to chart the edging and write it for people to follow. I have a couple of notes in the pattern on customizing, but there just isn't room in a pattern for talking at length about that sort of thing.

Reading through posts from several people working on Petiole (and wondering about extending this section or that to make a bigger shawl) I thought, "I have a blog! I can talk about these things!"

Petiole, as I mentioned, is an easy shawl to modify. One of the reasons is the motif. Each motif ends up separate from the other (no interconnectedness) so stitch counts can be played with and tweaked. Also, there are garter wings on the sides between the last motif and the edging motif, so if you have a different number of stitches than specified in the pattern, you can account for that in these plain areas at the sides. Here are some of my ideas on how to customize.

1. You want the solid body of your shawl bigger: This is easy, instead of going straight into the stem section, work another body section by doing another yo increase row (yo every 4 stitches this time) and work another section of the plain garter like before. You will have extra stitches when you go into your stem section, but just account for them in the garter bits as I said earlier.

2. I mentioned this in the pattern, but if you like the striped stem section, go ahead and lengthen it! Just make sure your leaves in the next section line up with your stems, and you are good to go!

3. Another option (one I am working on in a handspun Petiole) is to leave off the leaf on the outside edges of the shawl. I like how the leaf looks when I wrap the shawl around me, but I wanted an easy version of this shawl to work on when I was stressed out, so I decided to go without. If you do, don't work the stem on the edge or the leaf motif, just keep increases on the outside edges as you have for the rest of the shawl.

 4. Beads, did someone say beads? Again on the Petiole I am working on, I decided to add beads for fun (cause I am a sucker for pretty beaded things). The beads are going on the slip stitch stems (only on the rightside row as you are knitting them in B (so on row 5, place a bead on the stem), and then continue to do so through the leaf.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Belated Design Notes

I have two new published designs! (published last Month in Skein Theory, if you haven't gone to see it yet, do so, there are lots of wonderful patterns besides mine). I'm sorry for the lateness of the post, but the past month has been so busy and I am horrible at posting (as previously noted).

Just so I can pretend like I blog, I will do a separate post for the two patterns. The first of the two patterns is my new shawl pattern: Petiole.
This design was inspired by all the slip stitch patterns out there. I love making shawls like Daybreak, but I wanted to experiment with the different textures you can achieve with slipped stitches; a way to do colorwork without carrying two colors along a row.

My first version of this shawl was more of a shaped scarf and smaller leaves:
But I decided to go ahead and make the leaves bigger by adding a center vein and make this more into a full shawl. Extremem increasing creates a shape like a short row shawl.

I don't have a picture of it all spread out (I need to remember to take photos of this) but it is shaped to stay on your shoulders with nice long sides that wrap perfectly. With the large size I can wrap it all the way around and tie it in back.

The name of this shawl was originally "Falling Leaves," the perfect name for the shawl, until a Ravelry search revealed a billion patterns already by that name. So I left the name up to Janel, and she chose Petiole, for the stems of the leaves. It took me a bit, but I really like the name; it is descriptive and also sounds a little girly and elegant.

The pattern is available individually though Skein Theory ($6.50) or as part of the collection ($16 for 16 patterns).

You can go on Ravelry and see other projects of Petiole

Name: Petiole
Yarn: Yarn: Fingering weight yarn, approximately 250 (450) yds / 274 (366) m of main color and 230 (400) yds / 83 (229) m of contrasting color
Shown in Wollemeise Twin
Needles: US 5

I am working on another Petiole right now in homespun with beads, and I will have to show the finished one of that! (For anyone curious, I am putting the beads on the "stems" of the leaves)

Monday, September 03, 2012

Reflections on teaching

I taught a class last weekend (really, the weekend before last since it is already Monday) at an event in Salem. In the SCA different areas have different things in place for organizing structured classes. In An Tir we have two, Ithra and Academia. Salem got Ithra going again, which is the first time in a decade in Oregon-ish (or so I have been told). It has been a learning experience because it is different from most events where I have taught classes before.

-People have to pre-register for classes and pay up front (nice because if the student doesn't show, the teacher still gets the class fee), but harder for people to make last minute decisions if they want to go to the event.

-Teachers get reimbursed for their class fees, so have to provide receipts. I'm okay with that now, but I was told about it 3 days ahead of time and had to scramble to get something together. Directions for this also need to be on the Ithra site to help new teachers!

But the class was fun. I signed up to teach medieval stockings (using the pre-literate stocking pattern by Dame Christian). I had 5 students, and half of them were already knitters. I had a wonderful co-teacher, Angharad Bach, and this worked out well, I took those students who already new some basics, and she took those who needed refreshers and some more basic instruction. We did a swatch stocking (32 stitches and basically a baby stocking).

We did half teaching/half lecture. The lecture ended up being on the history of knitting with a large portion on stockings.

In the end I got great feedback from the students, and the biggest thing was that my class was too short. Which I agree with. The class was 2 hours, and I think it needs to be 3 or 4 hours long. I forget people don't knit as fast as me, and the more advanced students got through the heel, and picking up stitches, but not any farther than that. My goal was to get everybody through the baby sock and onto the stockings, so next time I will plan better. I think I will also just do a small amount of yarn for the next class, enough for the baby stocking, but not for the full pair. That will decrease the cost of the class, and people can then go choose their own yarn. I chose to get yarn for everybody and have a high class fee so that they would have yarn to go and make their own stockings.

I leave you with some medieval knitting I have done. Also, the most amazing pair of pumpkin pants ever.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


So I have had a published pattern out for 2 (!) months now as an online pattern. But I have discovered there is something different from being in a print book. It just feels...real somehow. Like the thought of having a pattern in bookshops that everybody will see. It's sort of awesome!

And I keep seeing tweets and posts about getting the print copies in. Nice fuzzy feeling that. Janel took a lovely pic of the print copies when we got the advance copies:

Alas, you can't see my face on this, its on the back cover, but you can see Annabelle. She makes laying on a hard bench look restful!

We've really put a lot of work into it, so hopefully it will do well enough for us to do lots more!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I can stop any time I want to.

So, I have a problem. I like vintage clothes. I am short and find they fit me better. I also have a small head, and I have heard that average head sizes have increased a lot in the last 50 years. So modern hats are usually too big for me. But vintage hats, now that's another matter. And, vintage/retro clothing is a way to be different and not like everybody else who shops at Target and Walmart.

The problem being, I never wear said hats. It makes me sad, so I went and took photos of my pretty hats so that I will remember that I have them, and perhaps use them. So, the many hats of Mirm:

The straw one gets two photos because of its awesomeness! It is a Stetson hat from the 40s!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Poor me, I had to buy the yarn

Well, the title really explains itself in many ways.

So I have been working for Rustling Leaf Press for just over a year now. I have been gradually transitioning away from my old job, The Knit Shop. Currently I am only working one day a month. That means I have no self control where new yarns are concerned.

Today I fell prey to 2. The new Malabrigo yarn, the silkpaca (70% baby alpaca, 30% silk, 420 yds per 50 g) in color "Frank Ochre." OMG I had to have this. And may need more. The problem with this color is that it goes with ALL the other colors on the shelf.

The other was sale yarn, usually my downfall. The Knit Shop is clearing out their stock of Malabrigo Lace (100% baby merino, 470 yds per 50 g). I wound up going home with 2 skeins in "Azul Bolita," although I have renamed the color duc de berry blue. 'cause it is.

And the two of them together, amazing!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Cleaning

 Last weekend I went through a frenzy of cleaning. The reason? My housemate moved out and I have been doing some much needed cleaning. So I decided to tackle this:

What is that you ask? That was my "closet" of shame. And by closet, I actually mean the connecting hallway between the two bedrooms in my house. Notice the door hidden behind everything? That is the door to the spare room. In my defense, there is another door that will get you into the room, so this door is not used generally. But I want to move into the back bedroom, so I felt it was time to clean it out. What is that pile made of? That's where the shame part comes in. That is 60% wool fabric 10% silk fabric, 10% misc fabric, 20% yarn and assorted sewing/knitting things.

My pile of wool quickly went from this:

To this:

But in the end...I have a doorway!


We have a contest winner (see previous post for details). The comment that made me laugh the most was:

"I’d gone to the pub with my husband’s hockey team after a game.

Took out the toe-up sock I was working on & chattered away. As you know, Cat Bordhi socks look mighty odd indeed during the gusset-increase phase.

One of the fellas squinted at the sock & said, “What is that? Is it a penis pouch?”"

Everybody else gets an honorable mention! Because they still made me laugh.

So although late, Andrea gets a skein of STR. I am also awarding Mom a skein of something pretty and handspun for her Peru entry, possibly to be delivered on her birthday.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Wierdest place you have knit?

So, I was having a discussion with a friend yesterday (a non-knitter) and I was telling her my recent "wierdest place I have knit" story. That got me to thinking, and I would love to hear your stories.

To make it interesting, I will make a contest out of it (limited to US) and the winner will be the one that makes me laugh/cry whatever the most.

To get the ball rolling, here is my most recent story:

So, the other day I was at the dentist's office. The ladies all know me as "the knitter," several of them are even knitters/crocheters themselves. They are super sweet, and always ask me what my current project is when I go in. Now, I usually knit in the dentist chair while I am actually waiting for the dentist (it can take a little while for him to finish up with the last person, etc), but this time I knit through the entire visit (chair reclined and everything). It was great because the gals in the office kept coming by and whispering, "is she knitting?" or things to that effect. In my defense, knitting is actually more soothing than having someone's hands in one's mouth...so.

Also, spinning on the streets of London is probably pretty high up there.

Leave your weird/funny stories in the comments with your ravelry ID, I will pick a winner, and then whoever that may I will contact on ravelry (if it is local, I can just give it to them....). I will pick the prize, but I will leave it as a surprise. 'cause I like surprises. If you are not on ravelry, leave some way of contacting you in the comment, so I can make sure you get a pretty.

And put something in before the 30th of June (that will be the day with the popcorn and laugh track).

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Secret, what secret?

The voices have told me that I should blog. And this time, I agree with them. Partly because I can actually talk about things. For the 6 months I have been working on a secret project which has consumed a good portion of my life. That makes it hard to blog. Also, I am horrible at keeping secrets, so it was just better for me to avoid my blog.

I have been working for the wonderful Janel Laidman for the past year as an assistant. Then, about 6 months ago, she said, we should make something big! So came The Sock Report.

And, the big news, I have a pattern in it. I am so excited! And proud of my baby. This pattern is called Suki (I wanted it to be "Jar of Sunflowers," after the Van Gogh painting or "For Amy," from the Van Gogh episode of Dr Who, but I was outvoted).

Suki by Miriam Pike
Yarn: Caricia from Textiles a Mano, fingering weight in "Mostly Moss" and "Sage Leaf"
Main Color - 300 (400) yards
Contrast Color - 200 (250) yards

There are two sizes, the larger size yardage is in parenthesis.

Its fun, starts from a garter tab at the neck and ends with the lace edging and a picot bind-off.

So, yes, the past 6 months have been busy.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Note to self: blogging is good!

I have actually had a little time to myself this week. I ended up working from home for 2 days (boss sick/me sick too). It is amazing what I can accomplish if I have multiple days when I am home when the sun is out.

Today was a wonderful mother's day. I took Mom to the Eugene Concert Choir Madrigal Dinner last night, and it was lots of fun (although really, I didn't pay for tickets, but its the thought, right?). Which was fabulous! The food was good, the singing better, and the fight seen, marvelous!

We went to Hendrick's Park today, and it was positively mobbed. It took us several minutes to even park. But it was worth it, the flowers are in bloom, and the sun was out. Its nice to remember that there is sun out there.

So, not many photos to post. I realized I need to take some photos of non-secret stuff. I have several shawls that I have finished lately, but I haven't got pictures of yet. We all know how that happens.

Maybe I'll just post a photo of a pretty dress!

I can haz shiny!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Swap of wonderfullness

It has been awhile, but for the last 6 months, I have been working on secret projects. Suuuuper Sekrit things. So secret, I can't tell you about them till the end of the month (and then you wont stop hearing about them, I promise).

But, I have something non secret I can blog about. I participated in a wonderful swap on Ravelry with some friends. Our theme was "Toys and Trinkets," and it was lots of fun. If you are unfamiliar with crafting swaps, here is how they work.

You sign up on a list and are given a swap partner, this is sometimes public, sometimes secret. Sometimes the person you send to sends back, in this case you send to someone, they send to someone else, etc.

I have participated in this in the past, and this time was wonderful fun. So, without further ado, I give you my lovelies sent by AnnMarie:

I am the proud new owner of the Ornette Sock Pattern by Cookie A and Malabrigo Sock in Ravelry Red (best red evar).
 A zippered notions bag, cloth covered measuring tape, and....
 ...and cute, bitty, wee kitties! I have already used them, and they are amazing!