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Why do I feel compelled to shrink my needle size? No matter what yarn I am using, the recommended size always seems huge to me. It's not a matter of my loose knitting--I can get gauge. It's just that for some reason I don't want to be able to see through my fabric, not even when I stretch it. While toying with swatches for my sweater, I realized that this is going to become a problem if I start to design a garment with the intent of sharing the pattern with others. I had my Cashmerino Aran on the recommended #8 US and it felt so loose it was almost comical. If I had it my way, I'm put aran weight yarn on a #5, but I compromised and will be knitting the sweater on a #7. (Except for the sleeve ribbing, which needs to be a bit tighter of course, and will indeed be on my beloved 5's.)

Here's my mini test-sleeve with the final stitch pattern:

After hearing Debbie speak about her design process, I was gung-ho for following every bit of her advice to the letter. But then it occurred to me that she and I had a different set of priorities, and I should base my designs on MY experiences, rather than imitating hers. For instance, I wanted lots of cables in my sweater (as an homage to some of the cable-heavy garments from her trunk show that I fell in love with) but I have two very playful cats who have stolen, hidden, or destroyed every cable needle I have ever owned. I solved the problem by stylizing some mock-cable designs that are done completely without the use of extra needles. Secondly, I have an unfortunate tendency to look frumpy. Loosely knit fabric that hangs without stiffness or structure only intensifies the problem. To attempt to solve this, I allowed myself the needle size shrinkage I spoke of earlier, in order to tighten the garment up slightly. The only item on which I forced myself to leave my comfort zone was the color I chose. It will be turquoise blue instead of the jet black I truly want. I figured I needed a lighter color or else my awesome non-cables will not be seen.

Change of subject: As if I really need another item on my to-do list... Adam got a Nintendo Wii this weekend and I simply must write a pattern for a knitted crazy bunny from Rayman's Raving Rabbids.

p.s. Potter Puppet Pals will meet their maker (in my washing machine) on Tuesday; please cross your fingers that I don't screw them up.
The Debbie Bliss event exceeded all my expectations; it was SO MUCH FUN! I had heard that she was very shy so I wasnt expecting her to be as easy to talk to, but by the end of the day I felt like we were old pals. She also gave glowing praise to my opera glove and was impressed that the pattern had come out of my head rather than a book. Perhaps she was just being nice, but I was flattered just the same.

All of us at the Ewe are such a bunch of groupies. We cant stop talking about her and how inspired we were by hearing her talk about her experiences. I had been limiting my pattern design to things that are small and easy, but thanks to her encouragement, I will tackle a sweater! It probably will be something I submit around for publication, rather than give it away for free on here, but if I succeed this will be a real coup for me. Im already making swatches and have almost settled on a lace/cable pattern.

Rumor has it that she had fun here as well, and may even be willing to come back to Texas in the future... stay tuned!

Other news:
-I spun a few yarns this month and they are now available in the store. (One of them was supposed to be a thank-you gift for Debbie, but in the bustle of Friday morning, I forgot to bring it with me. It's one of my favorites that I've ever made.)

-The felted Potter Puppet Pals are very close to being done. I just realized I forgot to give them all arms, but after that, into the washer they go!

-I got a request for the beaded necklace pattern, that can also now be found in the freebie section.
The bad weather thwarted my plans to go to work today, so I decided to use my extra day off to do something useful, such as give you nice people an update! (I must admit that even though I hate icy roads, I love weather that finally allows me to wear all the warm thingies I've been knitting all year.)

My dad got me all 3 Stitchionary's for my birthday, and I've barely pulled my nose out of them since they arrived. I have tons of new ideas... which could be considered a bad thing since I have yet to finish so many of my old ideas.

Recently completed -or- soon to be completed projects:
Louisa Harding knock-off hat, made with Adrienne Vittadini's Donatella in dark brown and Plymouth's Gabrielle for the stripes & tassles, modeled by Gonzo

Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, crochet chains with beads along the way. Which, by the way, looks NOTHING like the sketches I made. Hopefully I will have a few more necklaces made before she gets to town... ones that look less like I am a stoner or surfer.

Hello, my name is Cousin It and I am modeling Natasha's Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino cloche (pattern found on Craftster)

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and Astrakan opera gloves. The original plan was to make these "Yule Ball" gloves, so I chose Gryffindor colors, which I now regret because the yellow cuff really detracts from the elegant look I had envisioned. I may cut it off and have the cuff be black, and then lace up the slit on the other side (not shown) with a yellow ribbon.

Free patterns added today:
The Carmen neckwarmer made in Prestige cashmere for the knitsters:

Broomstick lace wristlets for the crochetsters:

If you are unfamiliar with the brookstick lace technique, I have also added a full tutorial here.

p.s. Weasley cell cozy: The maroon is SHADE #34, everyone!

Sick and tired.
Well, we're 3 days into 2007 and I am sick already. (Apparently my lazy immune system did not make a new year's resolution to do its job better this year.) I didn't even feel like knitting, which must be serious! I have such a long list that I maxed out my phone's to-do list item capacity, and I still couldn't find anything I wanted to work on.

I probably caught it at the sale on Saturday, which was totally worth it, for all the awesome yarn I got. I spent under $200 and got a TON of cool stuff. I went home that day and immediately made myself a pair of wristlets using the "broomstick lace" technique and one skein of yarn. I'm glad I got them done before I started feeling bad, I would hate to see such a cute and easy project fall into the UFO pile. They're very soft, and I officially endorse Mountain Colors Cashmere.

My Nyquil is kicking in, so I will post pictures of the wristlets later.