Friday, 29 January 2010

A Few Things (also, learning Macro on my new camera)

My Notions Bag
A gift from my husband

In Sunlight. 

So glad the sun came out. Especially since for the first time since I got my camera, I've been able to use it at an ISO under 400. No more noise!

God's gift to Americans living in England.

How do you clean outward-opening windows when you live on the second storey?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Charity of the Month Giveaway

Through Help for Haiti, you have helped me raise over £150 for MSF/Doctors without Borders so far. Thank you!

As I've mentioned before, I usually (after January) donate at least 10% (often more) of my income to charity, and since a significant portion of my income comes from pattern sales, why not ask my customers and readers what charity they'd like to see featured? Each month, I will pick a new charity, and each month that charity will receive 10% of my pattern proceeds.

Post in the comments section of this post with your favorite charity (any charity!) and I will randomly select 5 people (perhaps more, depending on how many comments I get) to receive a free pattern of their choice from my Ravelry store. Anyone who mentions this contest on Ravelry or their blog/twitter/facebook, etc. and posts about it here (separate entry from the original, please), will get an extra entry. Please only 2 entries max per person (1 for charity suggestion, 1 for mentioning this somewhere else).

You have until 11:59pm GMT on February 1st to comment, so let's get charitable!

I caved

If there was one thing I promised I would never do, it was that I'd never get a Twitter account.

I'm thinking that those things I promise I'll never do that I usually end up doing, and a lot sooner than I would have if I thought I would end up actually doing them. Like getting married. Or becoming a vegetarian.

So I did it. Here I am. And this is my guarantee to you:

You will find no posts in the format of:

"I did this today and it was fun."
emo verses
cryptic messages that make absolutely no sense.
"I love my boyfriend soooo much!!!11111!!1!"

Basically, I set this up to communicate with anyone making any of my patterns that wants feedback, has questions, or wants to share. So expect knitting galore. And maybe, "I went on a bike ride and it was fun," or "I love my husband soooo much!!!1111!11!" message in a couple of days.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

I have a new camera, and yet no light, flowers, or leaves

It was a nice week or so after the snow melted; sunny, somewhat clear-skied, good lighting, etc. My new camera arrived on Thursday and it's been raining and drearily overcast ever since.

So instead of going into town this afternoon and taking pictures, I was stuck in a bike shop, standing there while my husband fixed my bike (which liked to buck the chain while I was riding, so that I'd change gears and the pedals would pedal no more). So I'm very thankful that he did fix it. However, nipple tweakers (har) and pliers usually aren't the things I most prefer to photograph. I guess we all have to start somewhere.

I can't wait for spring.

Quite a few things, actually.

 As of today, you have helped me raise £111.40 for Haiti relief. THANK YOU!

In Pattern news, I released two (yes, two) patterns this week. Unfortunately I now have nothing in testing, but we'll see how the next months goes!

Anyway, I present:

Combining cables and two-color knitting, these mittens are a fun, quick knit in aran-weight yarn. Make them show-stopping in dramatic black and white, or a bit more subdued in more similar colors.

Comes with directions for either a traditional pointed finish or a flat finish (shown here), and both written and charted directions.

Finished Measurements
7.5” (9”, 10.5”) around palm above crook of thumb
8 (9.5, 11”) around base of palm and thumb

Aran-weight yarn, 109-150 yards MC (black), 109 yards CC (white)
US 8 (5.00mm) needles

Night River Mittens are available as a Ravelry Download for £3.00.

And also Etchings Socks

Reminiscent of etchings in jade, these elegant and deceptively easy-to-knit socks are a quick knit in soft, sturdy Handmaiden Casbah. They also use up very little yardage, and are perfect for smaller skeins of sock yarn.
This pattern includes charts only, but is a perfect way to learn. Includes picture tutorial on required special sts.

Finished Measurements
6in/15.25cm leg circumference relaxed 9”/23cm leg circumference stretched
4.5in/11.5cm length from cast on to beginning of heel flap

Made with only 255 yards of Handmaiden Casbah.

 Etchings Socks are available as a Ravelry Download for £2.50.

And, as always, for the rest of January 50% of pattern proceeds are going to MSF/Doctors without Borders.

Speaking of Haiti, I was touched by this story from my old hometown. I can't imagine how frightened they must be, moving to an albeit beautiful but still relatively cold place, with the big cars and buildings and roads. Even for myself, going back to the US is always a bit of a culture shock, but to come from Haiti to the US, especially just after what's happened, I can't even imagine. My hopes and prayers are with the family as they settle into their new home after that horrible experience, and hoping that the kids can settle in well, make friends, and learn English easily!

In other news, we managed to snag a Fairtrade Kit Kat bar at Tesco last night. It manages to take away a bit of the sting from Cadbury being bought by Kraft, but only a little. I'm completely aware that Nestle's motivation for making Fair Trade is questionable (as most of Nestle's motives are), but the fact is that lots more farmers are actually being paid fair wages for all of their cocoa genius and hard work, so that's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Help for Haiti

As of today, all of my patterns are now Help for Haiti Patterns, with 50% of proceeds from now until the end of January going to MSF/Doctors without Borders.

So far, you guys have helped me to raise £38.53 just over the past couple of days. This wouldn't be possible without you; thank you!

A few other patterns I like that are benefiting HfH in some way:

Indigomuse is donating $2.50 from every pattern sale for her adorable Cheeky Little Monkey pattern (though I must admit I'm a bit biased, as I'm Tanya's tech editor and I know she's just generally a nice and wonderful person!).

My friend EllaJ is donating 75% of pattern sales for the Airy Fairy Beret are going to the Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund.

And 80% of Ysolda's beautiful patterns are going to the Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund, as well.

Happy charitable knitting!

Saturday, 16 January 2010


Introducing a new hat pattern: Minerva

Using about 140 yards of Aran yarn (shown here in Shokay Shambala Yak in Regal) and 5.00mm/US 8 needles, it's now available as a Ravelry Download with both charted and written instructions for 3.00 GBP.

As part of the Help for Haiti program on Ravelry, from 16th January to 31st of January, 50% of the proceeds from this pattern will be donated directly to MSF/Doctors without Borders. And please remember that during the rest of the year, at least 10% of all proceeds from all sales go to various charities. Check out the rest of the Help for Haiti patterns on Raverly here.

ETA 18 Jan: I've also added the Owl Wood Cowl, Leiden Lace Scarf, and Marquess to my patterns where 50% of proceeds from now to the end of January will go to MSF.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Charity of the Week

I greatly admire designers who donate their time and resources to p/hop, an organization that raises money for charities by selling patterns in exchange for charity donations instead of the traditional pattern sale system. (There are some great patterns, too: check it out.)

I wish I could do that, but as someone who makes a chunk of her living from her designs, I'm unfortunately unable to. I'm planning to sometime soon, at least a pattern or two. In the mean time, please be assured that when you buy one of my patterns, at least 10% of the profits I receive from that pattern go to charity.

In order to make up for the other 90% I can't give, I thought I'd start a Featured Charity of the Week to highlight people and organizations that have the drive and the passion to go out there and do things that scare the pants off of me.

So today's Featured Charity is:

Medecins Sans Frontieres

For good reason, it's also p/hop's Featured Charity, and they need our help more than ever as they gather aid to send to Haiti in wake of the recent earthquake. If you are able, please consider donating to this fantastic cause to help make life for people in a very poor nation a little bit easier. MSF is also accepting donations directly for Haiti Earthquake Relief.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

New Pattern, a few previews, plus some stuff I love

I released a new pattern on New Year's Day (and forgot to post about it here until now. Sorry!): The Owl Wood Cowl (try saying it three times fast).

Reminiscent of snowy owls hiding in branches in a winter wood, this pretty, warm cashmere cowl is the best way to decorate your throat, and to keep it warm while you owl-spot on chilly afternoons.

It takes about 250 yards of lace-weight yarn (the cozy, fuzzy, lovely yarn you see here is Plymouth Ecco Cashmere) and beads are optional, though recommended if you'd like your cowl as owl-y as possible. It's available for 2.00 GBP.

I also finally get to show off the Flintshire I made for my husband (who is currently in bed with a nasty bout of flu; please send prayers and good thoughts his way!).

Made with Posh Yarn Elinor Aran.

I'm a huge fan of Shepherd Susie over at Juniper Moon Farm; I find her dedication to her blog (and her weekly puppy pictures!!!) very inspiring. Every week, she has a post detailing things she likes and want to share with her readers, and I figured that since I have so much to be thankful for and I see so many things I appreciate (or think are just plain awesome), why not start one here?

Ashley's Stuff that's Quite Marginally Brilliant

Mario Town Cake, made by Frances Clayton and featured on Cake Wrecks as part of last Sunday's Sunday Sweets. Click for bigger picture...really, go on, click.

This house for sale in Bangor, Wales, a chapel conversion that retains a lot of its original features, like its peaked windows.

Lush Jungle Solid Conditioner. For the first time since that greasy-hair stage in middle school (ick, I'd rather forget those days), I don't have a White Girl 'Fro. I embrace this stuff whole-heartedly.

Po-Zu Fair Trade Wellington Boots. Perhaps not as fashionable as, say, Uggs (hahahahaha), but they're made from Fair Trade rubber (yes, actual rubber. From trees), the money from which helps to protect the Amazon Rainforest and its people. Unfortunately, it seems like Britain is sold least, sold out in my size.

And finally...

For helping my husband fall asleep and, therefore, making tonight's post possible.

Patterns coming soon:

Minerva Hat

Night River Mittens