Thursday, November 24, 2011


This is the time of year to take a step back and ponder on what has taken place over the last year. I usually hold a Holiday sale this time of year, in part to try and gain more sales to finish up the year, but also in part to say "Thanks!" to all the customers who make my dream job possible. This year is no different (it goes through Dec. 9th). While getting ready to write the newsletter, though, I found I'd spent my time differently than originally planned.

I started this blog a few years back as a way to track my projects. Many of those projects turned into patterns for Fiber Rhythm-- and pattern design, test knitting and editing the patterns was where I would spend most of my time.

I'm finding that this year I spent a lot more time on learning new computer skills and improving older ones-- php coding, zen-cart, wordpress, adobe creative suite, quick books. I've loved it and learned a lot, however, that all means that I'm quite a bit behind on producing the patterns for sale. I even had a pattern done through test knitting last Thanksgiving that I haven't finished the grading and tech-editing for!

Also, as the business began to take over my "design side", I found that I was less likely to post project information here in my Projects blog, as I didn't want to influence where I might publish the patterns (many publications don't allow any notice of the pattern info online prior to their publication).

As a result, I think that the tone of this blog may be taking a turn... obviously, the rate of posts has slowed. Over the next few weeks I will work on understanding what I can post and what I can't and may be re-naming or starting a different blog that will be more meaningful and sustainable as I proceed with the knitting business.

Thanks to all who've been so supportive this year!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Crochet Art?


So, here in Portland, I've seen lots of "guerilla art" tagging with crochet. This was at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge when we came back across. Crochet bike art!
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

More than a lifetime

Ravelry is great. A community of people who love to knit and crochet. They have all kinds of ways to interact with others and one of them is your stash pages.

I've recently updated my stash pages with just about every little bit of yarn I've collected over the years. Some of it I've listed in the trade/sell section and some is just in my regular stash pages.

Well-- I've been collecting for over 30 years now, and as you might imagine, my stash was a bit out of control. The stash pages ask you information about your stash-- kind of yarn, yards per skein, numbers of skeins, colors, etc. They also have the ability to download in excel format.


I finally faced the facts. I downloaded the spreadsheet. Calculated the total yardage of yarn I have by each yarn weight. I sampled how long it takes me to knit one yard with the project I'm currently working on. I figured that this was worst case-- as its a textured stitch with something different every few stitches. I adjusted to take longer for the lighter weight yarns and less time for the heavier. So now I have an estimate of how long it might take me to knit-- by hand-- the yarn I have in my stash right now.

Guess how much time I have? 225 years !

Thats knitting textured stitch patterns every day. 2 hours a day. For 225 years. WOW.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to improve this number and make it work within my expected life-span. More hours per day. Stockinette stitch. Combining yarns and using larger needles. Working them up in simpler projects with little shaping. Using crochet rather than knitting. Weaving with some. Working some of it up on the knitting machines.

I admit. Part of my reasoning when I bought some of this yarn is to have something to do when I retired. Thats why I still bought yarn even when I was not finding time in my busy life to knit any of it up. Another reason I bought the knitting machines.

So-- in addition to the thoughts above, I think I'm going to apply a wonderful technique from database performance (my other life) to this situation: parallelism! I love to come up with patterns. I love to do the math to figure out how to knit them in various sizes. I love to knit the samples up to make sure it works. Now, I'll just have to up how many test knitters I have working on those at any one time-- and use yarn from my stash. Lets see... if I can keep 10 projects going at any one time, then it should cut us down to 20-some years. That might make it even possible sometimes to get some new yarn!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spreading the word... knitting stolen

Heard this morning at Palios that a local knitter's sample sweaters were stolen from her car. Confirmed on ravelry. If you see anything like the sweaters in Mary Scott Huff's blog contact the Portland police.

So sad to hear this, I know how much work goes into it.

Hopefully, the more people who hear about it the better chance the items will be found.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Knitting with Retroglo reflective yarn

If you want to add a bit more safety in with the love you knit into caps for your family-- use some reflective yarn! Retroglo is the yarn that I'm using here. Its actually made with tiny little glass beads on both sides and is a flat tape. I'm working it into the knit fabric by carrying it along with my other yarn. Since it is rather grey looking when not reflecting, I'm using it with grey yarn.

So this will be a cap pattern I'll be publishing and making available on my website.
In the photos, you can see one without flash-- it just looks grey-- and one with flash-- where you can see the reflection. This is the way it would look in headlights at night.

The photos show a worsted weight yarn, US size 8 needles (5 mm) and Caron's Simply Soft acrylic yarn. The Retroglo yarn is a little stiff, so I don't think I would go too much smaller in needle size, but you could.

I have plans to use the Retroglo by applying it more like embroidery afterwards. I'll take photos of that when I'm done and post them here as well.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Another one of those posts...Happy New Year!

Another one of those "OMG how can it have been so many months since I last posted?" entries.

To finish off last year's news...
I have finished the jacket. Right now I have to finish grading it for other sizes, and I'll be able to post photos here along with putting the pattern up for sale. I do like how it finally turned out and I like the hat and mittens that go along with it. Looking back, I think I personally would like it in a navy wool tweed rather than the purple... but we'll see what kind of knitting I get around to in 2011! It shouldn't take nearly as long next time around, since I'd just have to follow the pattern!

Since the last post, I've designed a couple of items in the Double Bambu yarn and have them out for test knitting. I'm about to put together two more items for test knitting, and then will be back to finishing up a couple of my designs that are half-done (half-baked? hmmm).

In December, I designed and knit some "Texting Mitts" for my younger son, and should have those up to the web-site soon.

I also spent some of my IBM bonus $$ and purchased the Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium. I am absolutely loving it!! They gave me a month of free subscription and I really am finding this site absolutely critical to help me get up and running.

2011-- a whole new year of possibilities
For 2011, I'll be using: In Design, for my knitting pattern layouts; Illustrator, to create the schematics and possibly some of my color charting; PhotoShop, for the photos of the patterns; and I hope to start using some of the web-based design tools (Fireworks, Dreamweaver and Flash) when I re-vamp my online store.

All this goes along with a re-organization of my home office and studio to start the new year off right.

I enlisted my son's help and we moved the furniture around in the home office and now I have easy access to all of my file cabinets-- the idea being it will be easier to get everything filed right away, and not leave piles of papers everywhere. I also have setup here a good spot to video "How to" knitting techniques... so hope to produce some of those in 2011.

For the studio, the re-arranging should help keep the knitting machines and loom available for work (right now they look more like storage). I'll also have a nice, diffused light area for photographing the knitwear garments on the dress forms.

All in all, good progress, and more good progress to look forward to.

Happy New Year!