Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Authors Who Knit: Danica Favorite

It's especially fun for me when I get to introduce you to one of my knitting author friends.  DestiKNITters, take a moment to meet debut author Danica Favorite!

Danica, what’s on your needles right now?
Well, Allie is going to laugh at this, because she helped me with a similar project, but here goes: I am working on making knitted chickens. I haven’t yet found a size that makes me happy, so I don’t actually have a finished chicken. Just a bunch of weird size ball things. So, I have an almost finished, too-small chicken on my needles.

What feels like your favorite/greatest knitting accomplishment?
I made this really great spiral knitted bag. I took a class at my local yarn store (A Knitted Peace, featured on Destiknitions) and that was the project we did. Best thing I’ve ever made. Maybe I need to find a “how to knit chickens” class.

What feels like the worst knitting mistake/foible/wrong choice you’ve ever made?
I made this super huge, super ugly shawl. It was a great idea and really pretty, but it was an important lesson in gauge. The thing is a behemoth and I used *cough* three times as much yarn as my pattern said. That should have been my first clue. However, it was one of those stubborn moments of I WILL DO THIS, so I finished it. I almost ripped it out and called it good, but my daughter loves it, even though it’s like a giant ugly blanket. 

Straight or circular needles?

Metal or wood needles?
I only have metal circular needles, since the wood ones are pricey. But I really love the feel of wood. That said, I’ll knit with anything. I have these big clunky acrylic needles I love, too.

White chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate?
I’m not allowed to have chocolate or dairy, so my treat of choice is cinnamon bears.

Coffee or tea?

Have you written a knitting character?
Um, sort of. I had a great scene in the book I’m writing right now involving two characters learning to knit, but my editor made me cut that section of the book. ☹ I guess I’ll need to be more intentional about making a knitting character.

What’s the last thing anyone would suspect about your most recent book?
That when I pictured my heroine from Rocky Mountain Dreams, I pictured Nellie Oleson from Little House on the Prairie. I’ve always thought that Nellie could be a good person deep down, so I decided to write a character who was already a good Nellie. 

Give a shout out to your favorite local yarn store:
A Knitted Peace
5654C S. Prince St.
Littleton, CO 80123

If you’d like to be friends with Danica on Ravelry, you can reach her at: DanicaDream.  If you'd like more information on Danica and her book, visit her website.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lady Fern Scarf from Hill Country Weavers - DONE!

I'm a Fern fan!

Before blocking
I absolutely LOVE how this turned out.  I think the fringe added just the perfect touch, especially when I combined strands of all three different colors.  It has that marvelous, retro-urban vibe that I associate with Austin, and I’m convinced it will be an accessory favorite of mine.

This was my first experience with a dedicated fiber wash—normally I use just a hint of Dawn Blue—and I’m a convert to Eucalan.  The scent is marvelous, and no rinsing is required.  As promised, the linen softened up considerably after its first bath.  I’m really looking forward to wearing this!

The last panel turned out fine!
Speaking of wearing scarves, I’ve gotten many comments about my new Facebook feature, Scarf/Shawl selfies.  I wear some of my knitting almost every day, and here’s a chance for youth see many of the DestiKNITions projects in action.  Click here to visit my Facebook Page, and you can scroll through the recent installments.

Thanks, Hill Country Weavers, for a marvelous project!  Next up, a lovely, lacy cowl from The Knitting Nest.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lady Fern Scarf from Hill Country Weavers - Day 5

New color, new stitches!

It felt like a vacation to finally get to work the teal yarn!  Seriously, I was grinning like a fool for the first five rows.  No more brown trellis!  Don’t get me wrong—it’s beautiful, but I was beyond ready for a change.

Once again, the kit concept has shown its value; I would have never put these three colors together if left to my own devices.  I just love the contrast between the teal and the brown, and the fern green (how appropriate!) will add the perfect touch for the next section.

Time to fess up on a mistake I’ve made with this project.  When I pulled out the needles, I was pleased my handy short set of 5’s were just the ticket.  Until this week, when I realized I’d used 5mm, not size 5.  It meant I was actually knitting with size 8.   When I pulled the larger size called for in the next section of this pattern, I realized my error.  In keeping with the directions, that means I’ll have to do the next section with size 9.  The good news is that I also have a handy little short set of size 9s, and being of the “not petite” variety at almost 6 feet tall, it’s usually best to size things up.  Only lace doesn't always look right on larger needles, so I’m a bit worried how that will turn out.  

Stay tuned…we’ll all see soon enough.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lady Fern Scarf from Hill Country Weavers - Day 4

Trellis Finish!

It took so very, very long to get that second skein of Shibui linen knit.  Five whole feet in total!  Honestly, I felt like I was going trellis-mad by the end of it.

The directions say to knit to the end of the second skein, but I elected to save out a small ball in case I decided I wanted fringe at the end of the scarf.  I’m usually not a fringe person, but I keep envisioning fringe at the end of this scarf.  I want to leave myself that option, and I’m willing to risk an inch of trellis to get it.

I found it amusing that the scarf is nearly as tall as my Christmas tree, so I had a little fun with the photography.  I needed to celebrate getting to the end of this trellis marathon.

I can hardly wait to change colors, stitches, and even needle sizes as I begin the last two segments.  It will feel wonderful!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lady Fern Scarf from Hill Country Weavers - Day 3


This. Is. Hard.

Not in the this pattern is so challenging it’s making steam come out of my ears hard, but hard in the I can’t believe it took me this long to knit 27 inches and I’m only halfway done kind of hard.

Four row repeats are soothing.  Zen, even, under the right circumstances.  But after 27 inches, even Zen gets a little too Zen-ish.  27 inches of solid brown—even though I really need a solid brown scarf and I picked the color out myself—borders of mind-numbing.  

On the upside, I could now knit the trellis stitch in my sleep.  On the downside, it offers very little challenge whatsoever. Other than perseverance.  I understand that’s a virtue, but it’s a tiresome virtue to gain, yes?

I know I will love the texture and drape of this scarf—when I’m done.  Right now it’s row upon row of scratchy stitches.  A fiber marathon.  I’m actually calculating how many rows I have to get done each day to stay on schedule.  And when I resort to math, you know it’s getting sticky.

Stick with me.  I need to know I’m not climbing this trellis alone.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lady Fern Scarf from Hill Country Weavers - Day 2

Learning to love linen (the infotainment edition)...

I need to learn to love linen.  That’s not going to happen by the current feel of it between my fingers—I find it scratchy and inelastic.  To educate--and hopefully alter--my snarky attitude, I went and did a little research on this fiber.  Here’s what I learned:

Despite the lack of elasticity I bemoaned above, linen has some admirable qualities.  It’s made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum (so you can see where the name comes from). Why is it a luxury fiber?  It’s laborious to manufacture, but highly absorbent—which is why we think of linen for hot weather wear, and why it's an excellent choice for Austin.  

Linen has a serious pedigree—it goes back thousands of years.  The earliest known examples—which were woven, not knitted—date back to prehistoric times.  The earliest known examples of knitted items come from ancient Egypt. Linen also shows up frequently in the Bible, including the resume of that impossibly perfect Proverbs 31 woman (talking about her clothing, unfortunately, not her knitting).  

Linen fabric is described as cool and smooth to the touch, gaining softness with multiple washings.  That smooth, lustrous texture is why you want knit stitches on the right side of this scarf rather than garter or purls. Ah, but this fiber's not just a pretty face: linen is three times stronger than cotton and second in strength only to silk.  I was intrigued to discover that linen is one of the few fibers that is stronger wet than dry.  Did you know Henry Ford’s Irish grandmother spun flax into linen fiber?

I have to admit, I’m starting to gain some respect for this crispy little fiber.  But enough education for now.  I’m chugging along on my several feet of trellis pattern, a little less than halfway through the first of two skeins.  If I keep knitting and researching, I might end up downright fond of linen by the end of this.  Hey, it could happen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November Authors Who Knit: Mindy Klasky

I had the great pleasure of meeting Mindy in person at a writers conference recently.  I'm delighted to introduce this talented and charming knitting author to you!

Mindy, what’s on your needles right now?
I am currently working on a throw, a lap blanket of simple garter stitch squares, intended to keep me warm through the long winter nights. It's easy and quick, good for a mind distracted by all the work associated with bringing out the last books in my Diamond Brides Series!

What feels like your favorite/greatest knitting accomplishment?
Answer one:  Teaching myself to knit!  (My mother wouldn't teach me, because she knits continental and never knew anyone else who did. My friend tried to teach me, but she's left-handed.  YouTube to the rescue!)  I learned to knit because I married a man who loves baseball – and I had do to something to fill the time spent watching all those games.  (Ultimately, I wrote a romance series about baseball, too!)

Answer two:  My first lace shawl, where I taught myself how to increase and decrease – and then (over a year later, because I was terrified) how to block a finished piece.

What feels like the worst knitting mistake/foible/wrong choice you’ve ever made?
Cringing at the price of the hand-dyed mercerized cotton yarn recommended for a shawl pattern I loved and choosing to go with a less expensive wool instead.  The shawl is lovely – don't get me wrong – but it doesn't have any of the magic or sheen of the recommended yarn.  (Which just means I need to make it again.  Or make something else.  Or both ☺)

Straight or circular needles?
Depends on the project, but usually straight.

Metal or wood needles?
I vastly prefer wood, but I own an inexpensive set of metal interchangeables that I use most of the time.  I'm thinking of splurging at my next big birthday, or career milestone, or something, and buying interchangeable wood needles to keep me happy forever.

White chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate?
Dark.  But not above 72%.  I'm picky ☺

Coffee or tea?
Tea.  Lots and lots of tea.  (Right now I'm in love with Bigelow French Vanilla, but Lemon Lift was my first love ☺)

Have you written a knitting character?
Not yet.  But I'm planning one for my next series, Lawyers in Love.

What’s the last thing anyone would suspect about your most recent book?
As a romance author, I'm always fighting the battle, trying to get people to understand that my characters are imaginary, and that the things they do are not necessarily the things that I have done.

That said, the heroine in ALWAYS RIGHT is very similar to me in some ways – not in the being-bankrupted-by-her-gambling-addict-father ways.  And not in the accidentally-blackmailing-someone ways.  But Amanda Carter is a litigator who knows how to argue for what she wants.  I suspect that people who meet me now never suspect my deep, dark litigator past. ☺

Give a shout out to your favorite local yarn store: 
I only get to my favorite yarn store on vacation, but it's:

Knitting Addiction
3708 N. Croatan Hwy #2
Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

If you'd like to know more about Mindy and her books, click on over to her website.