Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 31
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SPUN YARN #31

January, 2010


Atlantic shore in winter
Nova Scotia seashore in winter
Dear Knitfriends,

Time is on my side ...

It's a Brave New Year and I'm mentally adjusting myself to the idea that I do not have to travel for work until April! (On my next trip I'll be visiting the Elegant Ewe in Concord, NH, and then on to Three Kittens and the Yarnover in Minneapolis and the Yarn Garage.)

I can't remember when I last scored such a sizable block of unscheduled time! Determined not to waste a minute of it, I'm indulging in a flurry of writing new notes, tackling the long list of things I've been wanting to complete, and, hopefully, vanquishing the remaining bits of the finishing book. Also, futilely, I'm trying not to start new things. I'm a little concerned that after the first few days of this new regime, time will just fly from my grasp at an ever accelerating pace!

When is dessert?

Case in point: I was at this precise moment interrupted by Mr.Cuddles (a neighbour's cat who regularly visits here) menacingly demanding fondling. He paces around on all sides, giving you 'the look': you know full well that if you don't put the laptop down immediately and give him a ten-minute, two-hand, full-body massage that he will land in the middle of the keyboard from a great height, press Control-Alt-Delete with his huge paws, and possibly dribble into the keyboard for good measure. It's wiser to give in and cuddle him. I did. Here are some snapshots of how he spent his Christmas holidays. (Jigsaws are his speciality.) He particularly enjoys all the extra people, so now he gets his own chair at the table, as any other member of the family does.

Cat and puzzle

Back to my train of thought before I was so charmingly interrupted by the cat: I deliberately scheduled this winter's block of time at home, about two years ago, in order to be able to just concentrate on DVD filming for once. The past four filming seasons have had their intensity increased by my having to take trips in February and thereafter. However, after last year's DVD manufacturing woes, I cancelled filming for this year: the usual fate of "best-laid plans" prevailed. This gives me some major catch-up time, but I also have what feels like a decade of things to straighten out and finish! I'm looking forward to it.

I like this place.
Hugs and Kisses Scarf

Our first pattern release for this year, just in time for Valentine's day, is the Hugs and Kisses Scarf. It's definitely for the advanced knitter, but is really fun. The Hearts are even stuffable, for extra effect. It is double-knit with the hugs on one side and the kisses on the other. I just cannot memorize the chart for this one, even though there are only 10 x 2 tricky stitches on five rows out of 10: I still need to resort to the mini-chart if I'm in the least bit distracted. The first scarf was made with some yummy angora sock yarn that I purchased at the Sock Summit (Angora Frost Yarn from Windsor Farms Rabbitry, OR), teamed with our Bitter Chocolate Blue Faced Leicester, and here is the result. For the next scarf I'm using two colours of Kauni and it's coming out rather well, although I think I could have used needles one size larger than the 4mm I'm currently using.

INVENTORY SALE: Two patterns for the price of one!

In order to reduce our paper inventory, we will be announcing a one-month, buy-one-get-one-free sale on some of our printed patterns. For any pattern you buy, choose one of equal or lesser value for free. For Spun Yarn subscribers the sale starts today; the public sale is from January 25 to February 25, 2010.
Check the list of sale patterns and phone or email us with your order (regular shipping rates apply.).


Old dogs ... New tricks

I've finally made it to the end of the tutorials on the basics of Adobe Illustrator. (13 + hours, and that really was just the Basics!) I try to watch one or two lessons on my laptop whilst I chew my muesli most mornings (that's a lot of mastication). I'm not sure that I remember a great deal of everything, but I now at least know where to look for the information, and have a rough idea of some of the amazing things this program can do in the right hands.
My New Year's Mission is to tackle learning more about spreadsheets, which sadly have always been a bit of a mystery to me. I know that the people that love them, love them a lot. But I'm not even sure of their capabilities: I know some people use them for charting (beats me how they do that) as well as for crunching figures. I always worry about mixing up my lines when I sort things, so I am very wary of them.

I have to be careful not overreach myself and get distracted into watching other software topics: there are so many fascinating things on offer at www.Lynda.com. (I did find out how to add album art to my I-pod the other day. Good grief, it's hard to stay on track.)

I will close now, so that I can finish making soup with Christmas leftovers. No panic, they've been in the freezer. I vacuum-pack sachets of turkey and ham just before it makes me want to scream; that way I have something quick and easy for the New Year when the cupboards are bare.


Happy stitches to you all as the light returns to the northern hemisphere,
Lucy (My blog: happystitches.wordpress.com)

PS: The Venus Rising Cardigan knit-along on Ravelry has started; sign up and join us for some knitting brain-candy!
I have written a training swatch for all those taking part in this endeavor, and for those of you who have the pattern. It can be printed from the VR Swatch pdf: play with all the techniques in just an evening's work.




Product News

Hugs and Kisses Scarf by Lucy Neatby (#486) (Available as a PDF from Patternfish)

Hugs and Kisses Scarf Take your Double Knitting a leap further. This lovely (OK, bad pun) scarf features Hugs (O's) on one side and Kisses (X's) on the other, all united with a column of gently padded, quilted, but not quite beating, hearts. Challenging and entertaining knitting. Concentration is required for the five rows involved in making the dissimilar sides. The hearts may be stuffed according to your taste.
The pattern is charted as well as written in full.

Size: In sport-weight yarn, 100 g each of Light and Dark yarns, gives a scarf 6 inches x 44 inches (16cm x 110 cms).
Yarn: From Fingering to Worsted.
Techniques: Tubular Cast-On and Bind-Off (described in detail), two-colour double layer knitting and stuffing technique.
Skill Level: Advanced or really determined intermediate.
Pattern price: $9.00 Cdn



Knitting Tip

Make your reference materials more useable!

As a manufacturer of knitting patterns and author of books, I give a great deal of consideration to the best way to make the information physically accessible to the reader.
Patterns
From a packaging perspective, we have found it helpful to use clear sheet protectors to corral all the pages into a neat unit. Full patterns can then be viewed front and back and stored in binders, if desired.
However, from a knitting perspective, when the patterns are full of detail and run to many pages of information, this is less than ideal. You can arrange the pages so that you may view p.4, but what if you want to double-check the Abbreviations?
One option is to put each page in its own sheet protector and put them in a binder, or hole-punch the pages directly. I find binders aesthetically unappealing, and they are rather spiky to cozy up with on your lap. (Give me a cat any day!)
Venus Rising pattern in spiral binding
An alternative that I prefer, is to take the pages to a copy shop and have them punched and spiral bound with a simple coil binding. I like to add a clear front cover and a card stock back cover: this is how I prepare workshop notes for some of my multi-day workshops.
To make this more cost effective, you might consider taking several patterns and putting them all in one spiral binding. It may be helpful to put a coloured sheet of paper between the different patterns. Add sticky flags for important pages, and you are good to go! You now have easy access to any page, the paper is exposed so you can annotate the pages, and the whole thing is not too bulky to slip into your knitting bag.
With the new trend towards .pdf pattern delivery, the money you save on needless shipping could be invested in the binding!

Another treatment that I have given patterns, such as for a camping trip, is to laminate them. They are then waterproof and almost indestructible.
What to do with books?
I have taken a number of my reference books (Barbara Walker's Treasuries, in particular) and had the spines removed (no anesthetic required) and then had them bound so that they will stay open to any page, any time.
Cool Socks Warm Feet
When we produced Cool Socks Warm Feet, we decided upon a spiral bound presentation with a covered spine. This was to allow the knitter to easily be able to open the book to any page they wished and have it stay open at this page. I would have preferred not to have had the covered spine, as this means that the cover sticks out somewhat when the book is open in the middle, but it is commercially necessary. To make a book visible on a book shelf or shop display it needs a labelled spine.
The spiral spine has caused us difficulties from time to time in the shipping process: when your shipper places the box of books underneath three circus elephants, the spines get crushed!
Overall, the feedback from happy knitters is that they like the format, and that outweighs the difficulties. This is just never going to be a coffee-table book; it is a working book that is easily slipped into a knitting bag, somewhat dog-eared, but loved!

DID YOU KNOW:

Most previous issues of Spun Yarn are archived on the website; type in the website address (http://www.lucyneatby.com/) followed by the edition you wish to read: i.e. SY24.html or SY25.html, etc. (The html bit just tells the computer what kind of file it is.)


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Blog: http://happystitches.wordpress.com/