By JC | December 5, 2013
Ditto my rantings on how its edging should be charted.
Of course, those rantings pre-dated Stitch-Maps.com. Don’t you just love the stitch map for the edging? No “no stitch” symbols, and a clear understanding of how the parts of the stitch pattern fit together.
And so that’s why I’m re-releasing the pattern for Jolie. It now includes stitch maps for all its stitch patterns… and traditional grid-based charts, and written instructions, for those of you looking for some training wheels.
By JC | November 5, 2013
I don’t know what I like most about this scarf: its yarn, Windsor Farms Rabbitry Angora Blizzard, or its stitch pattern, Traveling Vines.
Way nicer as a stitch map, don’t you think?
Speaking of traveling… tomorrow I’m headed to Stitches East. Hope to see you there!
By JC | October 29, 2013
That’s right, traditional grid-based charts and grid-free stitch maps, side by side. (And written instructions, for those of you that haven’t yet jumped on the chart bandwagon.) You can follow whichever set of instructions turns your crank, or – and here’s the fun part – you can click on hotlinks within the pattern PDF to view the stitch maps interactively at Stitch-Maps.com.
I figured it was high time I started using stitch maps in my own patterns. And with its sinuous nature, Sidewinder was the perfect place to start. More updated patterns will follow, as I find the time. I’ll post about them here, and on the Stitch Maps group on Ravelry.
By JC | October 28, 2013
Lately it seems I get most of my knitting done while traveling. Case in point:
Before Stitches Midwest, knowing that I would need some travel knitting, I cast on these Sidewinder socks. I don’t often knit one of my own designs twice, so this was a treat: No need to scour stitch dictionaries for ideas! No need to plan the cuff treatment, or the heel shaping! Just knit!
And the knitting was fun. I used Frog Tree Pediboo, an 80/20 blend of wool and bamboo. It behaved beautifully during the knitting, with no splitting, knots, or other complaints. And you can see the stitch definition is fabulous. I look forward to seeing how the socks hold up over time.
But fast? Nuh uh. This was travel knitting, remember? I snuck in a few rounds on my trip to the Knitting Bridge guild in September, but otherwise the project languished until I headed to New York State earlier this month. Ah, nothing like a 2.5-week trip to make a dent in the travel knitting! I even managed to get started on my next travel-knitting project:
Yup, more toe socks, once again in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silkie Socks that Rock. The first sock knit up in a hurry, and the second sock is already past the fussy stage: the toes have been knit and joined together, and the junctures between the toes have been grafted. In other words, this project is at the perfect point for hours of mindless travel knitting. I plan to exercise great restraint, and leave the project aside until I head to Stitches East next week.
By JC | October 20, 2013
Yesterday I visited Rhinebeck for the first time, and what did I do? Buy fiber and yarn? Nope, I don’t spin, and my yarn stash overfloweth already. Instead, I did a little collecting:
Some people collect stamps, or butterflies. Me, I collect stitch patterns. These I found “in the wild,” on samples hanging in vendor booths at Rhinebeck. Pretty, yes?
As for Rhinebeck, it was just as incredible as I’d always heard. Getting to wander through building after building of vendor booths, and to meet up with people I don’t see often enough, was fabulous. The glorious weather was a huge bonus. Will I come back? I’m almost tempted to say no, this weekend was perfect, it couldn’t have been better.
By JC | September 10, 2013
Last weekend’s test-run of my new Wedge Shawl Design class went quite well, if I do say so myself. Oh, sure, there was a hiccup or two, and you know I’ll be making improvements to the class based on the feedback I got.
But what blew me away was how inspired the students were. Several spent the rest of the weekend knitting away on shawls of their own design; I loved seeing the progress they made. Others chafed at the chance to get home, pull some special yarn out of their stash, and get started.
Yes. That’s what the class was supposed to do.
Me, I resisted the urge to start another shawl myself. Instead, I whipped up a pair of mittens:
They’re all brioche: Half Brioche for the cuff, and Fluffy Brioche for the rest. Soon, they’ll be a surprise gift for a very special person. Ssh, don’t tell her…
By JC | September 3, 2013
Did you take some time off this holiday weekend? I did. It was fabulous.
But now it’s back to work, and oh, my. If I think too much about my upcoming schedule, I start hyperventilating:
- This weekend I head to small, local retreat where I get to test-teach a new class to a bunch of friends. (A friendly audience is always good for kicking off a new class.) I’m excited by the topic, Wedge Shawl Design. I have samples, and I know how I want the class to run. I just need to finish writing the handouts… eep!
- A short two weeks later, I head to the Bay area to teach Charts Made Simple and Lace Basics to the Knitting Bridge guild, and Charts Made Essential and Manage Those Numbers! for A Verb for Keeping Warm. Should be fun! I always like visiting the Bay area, and I’m excited to visit Verb for the first time.
- October features a mega-trip: four days(!) teaching for the Rochester Knitting Guild, two for the Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo, and then a side trip to Rhinebeck. Goodness. I have no idea how I’m going to pack everything I’ll need.
- November brings Stitches East… always a good time. And, tentatively scheduled, a webinar hosted by Interweave. More news on that later.
I’d call that a rather full schedule; wouldn’t you? Wish me luck! I gotta get back to writing those handouts…
By JC | July 31, 2013
It’s almost here: the long-awaited ebook Dreaming of Shetland. Conceived as a fundraiser for Deb Robson’s explorations of Shetland and Shetland sheep, it’s grown to include several essays and dozens of patterns.
And, oh! what patterns. Go on, take a peek at the project gallery; you know you want to.
My contribution? Not the least bit connected to Shetland.
Nope, it’s knit of silk, using a mix of Estonian patterns. But I still like how it turned out. How about you? Which of the Dreaming of Shetland projects do you want to knit?
By JC | June 18, 2013
What have I been doing for the past couple months? Not blogging, clearly. Not knitting, either. Rather, I’ve been working on this:
They’re “stitch maps,” knitting charts drawn without grids so you can see what the fabric is really doing. You can read more about them (and play with them!) at my new website, Stitch-Maps.com.
As you might imagine, I’ve been working on Stitch-Maps.com for some time. And I had envisioned careful, controlled launch. Pfft. How does the saying go? “If you want to make the gods laugh, tell them about your plans.” This morning a post on Facebook mentioned Stitch-Maps.com. That got repeated on Ravelry. And that let the cat outta the bag.
So now you know. I’ve been neglecting this blog on account of Stitch-Maps.com. And I’m probably going to continue neglecting this blog for a while.
Oh, but what an excellent trade-off: Stitch-Maps.com is raring to go! Join the fun: check it out.
Want to know when something new, cool, and groovy hits Stitch-Maps.com? You have options:
Just be patient with the site, okay? It’s still pretty darn new. No doubt it has some kinks I’ll need to work out.
By JC | April 22, 2013
The first was when a former Slick Set-in Sleeves student showed me a sweater she’d knit using that technique. It was stunning! The fit, the yarn selection, the stitch patterns – all perfect. Seeing that sweater was quite a thrill for me because it was the first time a former student had shown me what they’d been able to achieve after taking the class. I’ve been teaching that class for years, so if you ask me, I had to wait far too long for that moment.
The second took place on Saturday. Someone in Friday afternoon’s Disaster Recovery class told me how she had finished a lace piece on Friday evening, binding off but not weaving in the ends. She headed back to her room, stepped off the elevator, and discovered an end dangling down into the elevator shaft. She tugged on the end, curious as it why it was so long – sure, she hadn’t woven in her ends, but none was that long. Yard after yard came out of the elevator shaft. Finally she realized that the bind-off had unraveled, to the tune of 200+ stitches! Many stitches had unraveled back several rows. Normally, she told me, she would’ve bust out in tears. But having taken Disaster Recovery mere hours before, she had the skills and confidence she needed to get all the stitches back on needles, and to repair the damaged rows. Whoo hoo!
And that, folks, is why I teach. It’s why I put up with the travel hassles, and the loss of “normal” weekends. Knowing that students are putting new skills to good use is about the best reward there could be.