It Finally Clicked!

Even as a seasoned knitter, sometimes, something so simple can flummox me. Steven West’s Bubble Shawl did just that.

The first time I tried this shawl was in March of 2019. For details on yarn and needle size, see my project page. It was the second year my daughter and I decided to start a knitting or crochet project together with the end result being entered into the Make it with Wool contest in November.

We don’t start the same project, we just spend the day together casting on some place different and having a nice lunch; outside if the weather permits. This particular year we did sit outside to cast on. At the fire pit at Southlands mall in Aurora, Colorado. I don’t remember what we ate however.

Three hanks of yarn lay on a green background with a set of interchangeable needle tips in the package, The cover of the Bubble shawl pattern visible. A zippered project bag with sugar skulls and polka dots on it is ready to be packed.

I do remember starting my project twice while we sat there and it didn’t work either time.

The front side of the beginning of Sara's shawl, worked in variegated yarn, sits on the black background of her pants.

I tried again the following week while everyone was at school. Maybe I just needed some quiet to get this going the right way. It took a couple of tries but still not great. I pushed on, figuring I’ll get the hang of it soon and the rest will block out.

Then came the bubble stitch. I’ve never worked the bubble stitch before. I had to wait until I was at the bus stop with enough time to watch the video and try the bubble stitch in the car. We didn’t have home internet yet, only on my smart phone, which had no signal at home.

I watched, I tried, eh it was sort of okay, I guess. Maybe it’ll get better with more bubbles. So I kept knitting. I’m not sure how far I got or how big the piece was, but I knew I wasn’t happy with it. My bubbles weren’t bubbling. I hadn’t got the hang of the horizontal rib and I wasn’t enjoying the piece.

It was put in time out for a while.

I didn’t finish it for the make it with wool contest.

I pulled it out again at a later date. Decided that frogging would be the way to go and start again. I made a swatch to help.

A small swatch of the bubble stitch, worked in variegated yarn, resting on top of a ball of yarn.

Same issue with that horizontal rib… Just can’t see how it should go and am having to follow every single row. Why can’t I get it?

The bubble stitch wasn’t any better this time around either.

So I frogged it, again. Put it all in a bag and then placed it in the box of yarn that is for projects.

I really want THIS shawl in THIS yarn. But it isn’t happening right now.

It was at least a year, maybe more before I picked it up this time. I took it with me to Stanley Market Place, also in Aurora, Colorado, one Friday morning. I had just completed a large project and casting on a new project was the reward for that. I thought it was time to try the Bubble Shawl again.

Same bag maker as always, same yarn of course, same needles, even the same water stained set of instructions and I was ready to go.

Three balls of yarn spill out of a zippered project bag, decorated with dragon flies.  Water stained directions of the Bubble Shawl pattern can be seen behind the yarn tails and the cable of the needle.

It was a rather warm day for this time of year, but I stayed outside. I was sitting and just casting on when a guy walked by. He knew that I was knitting, asked what I was making, and said “It looks like you’re just getting started.” He was right, there was or is a knitter in his life somewhere or he himself is one.

I started, I worked for about 20 minutes, did an Instagram story and even mentioned I’m not sure it is correct. I worked a bit longer. Looked at what I had done and it was wrong. Okay here we go again. Frog and re-cast on.

This time I didn’t have to rip. I took the time to read every row, and mark Row 4 of each repeat. This is what got me through the first 30 rows or so.

Now I can finally see that horizontal rib. I can’t tell you the pattern but I can work the pattern now.

Okay so what about the bubble stitch? Well I was a bit concerned that my bubbles were still not going to bubble. My daughter made a mini baby blanket the first half of last school year for a class, using the bubble stitch and her bubbles, bubbled beautifully. So this time I have on-site help if I need it.

Well I needed it. She watched me do it. I listened to her explain… Still not bubbling. Back in the bag and to time out it went.

Then I saw someone else’s Bubble Shawl on Instagram and it was so bubbly. I decided to pull it back out and try yet again. Over two years has passed since this shawl was big and Steven has made a lot of tutorial videos. It was a lot to dig through on his YouTube channel. So I tried the search box and got a video from someone else.

You’re never going to believe what I was doing wrong. I ripped back to the beginning of the bubbles and tried the stitch again. I worked on it the entire week that my daughter was at my Mom’s house. When she came back, my bubbles, bubbled!

Sara's shawl worked to about a foot wide in variegated and green yarn lays on a brown background, waiting for the next row to be worked.

I wasn’t going down enough rows to make the bubble stitch. I was only going down 3, not 4 and that made a huge difference in the bubbles or not bubbles.

I no longer mark every 4th row for the horizontal rib, like I said I can see it now. I only look at my directions for the bubble row, to know when to start the bubbles. There are 4 different bubble rows because the bubble section increases every right side row. Though I am seeing the pattern emerge and hop to be able to not rely on the directions so much. Not there is anything wrong with that, there isn’t; it’s just a personal goal of mine.

Why did I push on? When was the breaking point?

In part because I am stubborn, honestly. I really wanted this shawl and in these colors. I had ordered the yarn just for this project and really wanted it to become this shawl.

This try would have been my breaking point. If I hadn’t gotten it while my daughter was gone, it would have probably been frogged and put into the fingering yarn bin.

Now I am very happy with the project. I don’t get to it everyday but most days. I know exactly where I’m at and what I need to do next. It took me a while to be able to really “see” this design, but I’m glad I kept coming back to it.

What project had you stumped? Have you ever had a project be “more” than you thought it was going to be before you began?

Please share in the comments below. Or share your pictures on Instagram and tag me. I’d love to see what “got” you and how you chose to deal with it.

Happy making!

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I’m a designer and a maker

In this post I will share with you my Coloring Stacking Cowl. It is a project that I did through the Patreon group for YarnHarlot.

While I design knitting and crochet items, I am also a maker and I enjoy working other people’s designs and patterns too. Because of that you will also see my interpretation of other designer’s work.

The Color Stacking Cowl was designed with a particular dye method of yarn in mind. Yarn that has longer color repeats, but not self striping.

I had a spare skein of 100% wool in worsted weight and I decided to dye my own. I use the microwave and 9 x 11″ glass baking dish. The yarn didn’t turn out as even as I had hoped. It’s been a while since I had dyed anything and this was my first time trying to dye yarn using this method of striping.

Hank of yarn laying open on the table ready for dyeing.
The yarn I over dyed with the acid dye.
Soaked gray yarn waiting in the glass dish waiting for the dye.
Yarn soaked and sitting in the glass pan waiting for the dye.
Yarn covered in dye and wrapped in plastic wrap.
I poured the dye on the yarn and wrapped it in plastic wrap.
Finished, dried yarn laying on a table waiting to be wound.
The finished, dried yarn laying on a table waiting to be wound.

I decided to press on and use the yarn for the project it was intended for. I followed Stephanie’s directions for swatching and doing the math to figure out how many stitches to cast on and all of that.

When I had completed my first few rounds, it wasn’t working. I ripped, examined my yarn and found that the colors were off set during the dyeing process. Nothing I could do about it now.

I re-cast on and this time just kept knitting. Either way I was going to have a cowl that was hand dyed and knit by me when I was finished, even if the colors didn’t stack.

The purple, pink and gray cowl worked in seed stitch sits on a mannequin showing the swirling colors.
Finished cowl from the front.
A side view of the finished cowl in purple, pink and gray using seed stitch on a mannequin.
Finished cowl from the side.

So my colors swirl, as they usually do. I’ve been told it is because my name starts with an “S” so when I use a multi-color yarn it will make stripes or swirls.

While it would have been fun to see the colors stack, and even before this exercise I understand how they could and the theory behind it, I am happy with the resulting cowl. Now to wait for cooler weather to wear it!

Show me what you’re working on this week. Tag me in your posts or email me, I’d love to see it!

Happy making!

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Harder than I thought.

Sara's computer is open on a table outside.  She has her notes for this session of the Crochet Business Summit and her red lace knitting project is off to the right side.

If you read my last post here you know that I have decided to take my fiber arts and designing seriously as a business. I am now part of the Swatch Studio Circle and am loving the community there.

This past week Pam Grice, the Crochetpreneur offered a Crochet Business Summit. One level was free and then a couple of paid levels. Being new and green I decided to look into a few of the 30 sessions offered on the free level. I was particularly interested in the Tiktok session.

Well, I ended up watching and participating in the chat of 24 sessions! It was like drinking from a hydrant there was so much great info! From blogging to Youtube to TikTok and I want to do it all, and I can. I now have some tools and lots of ideas.

How does this fit in with Swatch Studio Circle? I am going to take things slowly because another thing I learned during the summit is that, doing all of this is harder for me than I thought. Swatch Studio Circle is my place to take the time I need to do this slowly so that things don’t snowball and get out of my control. I can learn the tech as I go. Grow with the platforms I choose and let go of what isn’t working for my style of creativity.

I will use my classes with swatch Studio Circle to grow my business in order using the tools and tech along the way. With the sessions from the Crochet Summit I will have another perspective on different areas and ways to do things to look back on.

While I am still a bit overwhelmed I am very excited to get started doing these ALL the things! I even opened a Canva account today.

Thank you for being on this journey with me!

Sign up on the home page for the newsletter list to be one of the first to find out what’s going on.

Happy Making!

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Slacker…

I have had patterns self published to Ravelry since 2012. In that time I have sold a total of 18 patterns. Not much to show for 8 year of work.

Toward the end of last year I decided to get serious about my writing and publishing; I took a couple of classes on line, even got some test knitters for one of the designs. I planned to publish that design in December 2020. Then I took another class that would make that pattern even better, so I pushed the date out, then again and again and then…

It still isn’t published. Why? I didn’t really lose my drive to publish, I was feeling a mix of emotions and wasn’t sure of myself and what the Lord has for me right now. One feeling was “This is just fluff work, what’s the point?” Another of arrogant pride if I introduce myself as a designer and there are so many patterns already any way, why do we need more? So for the last 6 months there has been pretty much no forward motion on the publishing part. I’ve started tech editing and have been working on my own designs and recording some videos, but those aren’t published either…

Then a couple of weeks ago registration for SWATCH Studio Circle opened up again. I’ve been looking at it and praying about it since February. I asked a couple of questions and had my Mom look over it and then I joined! This is it. It’s not make it or break it, it’s just do it! I have been taking classes and learning how to make great patterns, what a style sheet is and other things from many different artists. SWATCH Studio Circle brings in, what I hope is the last missing piece, interaction with other designers and with that comes accountability. SWATCH Studio Circle offers more than the interaction. There are videos that break the design process down into smaller steps that are less overwhelming and feel doable. Downloadable files to customize to you. How to use social media… I think this is it. Not that I will be making a living from my designs, but that I will not only get them on Ravelry but follow through and share about them in other places that they might be more successful than in the past.

With that is going to come some work. I had taken all my patterns off of Ravelry and was going to re-release them all by the end of June. I completed one.

At this point they are all back up and available at the price they have been all this time. I am going to redo each pattern to look like my new style, be low vision and screen reader friendly, be both charted and written and if any tutorials are needed they will be both photo and video. Video will be available in 2 different formats talked through and then one with music and step by step captions.

As I redo each one and release it, the price may change, up or down. Pricing is still something that I’m working on and learning about. Patterns priced too low, don’t sell and that makes sense actually, but I had never thought about it.

I will release one old pattern each month starting July 2021 and going through December 2022. Yes I have planned out the next 18 months of designing. I have that much just sitting around here in various stages. I will also release a new design each month. I haven’t filled the calendar with new designs yet, but close. I am excited to work this way. Enough to keep busy, complete what is languishing and time to work on new inspirations and submissions that come along.

I will be more diligent about posting here on what I am working on so that you can get a behind the scenes look and be ready for the pattern when it drops.

Happy making!

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I’ve been busy…

I have done a bit of dyeing, designing, finished the last animal for my Beginning Ami class, done some testing and tech editing as well as working on some of my own designs.

This was an experiment using the water that was left over after prepping black beans for canning. This is also the yarn that lead to my starting a TikTok account.
Here is the beginning of the yoke of a baby sweater that I am doing for a yarn subscription box from Southern Skeins. This pattern will be out for their June box.
This is the cuff of a test knit sock that I did for DanaRaeMakes. This is Dots and Lines from Texture Socks Three Ways. The yarn is from Deep Dyed Yarn in the Starry Night colorway on their sparkly sock base.

Some of the other testing I have been doing isn’t available to share yet. I will be sharing those when the designer says “Go.”

I don’t want to share the last animal of my Ami class just yet. I think that will get its own post next week.

I have as I said above started a TikTok account. I have posted the dyeing videos, some sewing videos and am now working up a couple of knitting videos. I had a warm welcome and am enjoying the community that I have found there.

Coming next week will be the first of my VLOG videos on YouTube. I have decided to share with you each month the items I finished the month before. I’ll post about there here when it goes live. Until then, happy making!

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Crochet Dragon Part 1

I posted a new video on YouTube today.

In it I detail the yarn that Mom surprised me with this week and the pattern I will be using with that yarn.

Here is a random picture the camera took during filming; I’m still learning what to do when and how.

I am using a Nikon D5600 and am loving it! It is the second Nikon I’ve owned and the first video recorder from them. So far so good.

The light in this video isn’t great but I’m learning. The card I show is fuzzy, but I put in a still so the info is there.

As I go ahead, it’ll get better.

The mic my husband bought me a while back worked nicely with the camera.

So the yarn and pattern will be to crochet a dragon. The yarn is 50% camel and 50% mulberry silk. It is a very shinny and colorful yarn. I decided to crochet a dragon to use the shinny as a design element and to keep the colors mottled, like in a hank.

I will post a little about the project and some pictures here as I go along, but most of the sharing will be done in the videos.

Please like and subscribe my YouTube channel to keep up with this Dragon project. Or subscribe here on my site to know when a new blog post goes up. I do a blog post for any video post I do.

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Luminous Ladybug Repair

One of the activities I really enjoy is repairing knit or crochet pieces. I have done this often for my personal items and for others as well. Items made from cotton, acrylic and wool. Acrylic is no longer an option for me as I’m allergic to it.

This particular repair is on a 6 foot by 6 foot Haapsalu shawl that I designed in 2012. It is not currently available, but will be re-released soon.

It is made of 100% alpaca. I wear it often and everywhere. When it gets too warm, I roll it up in a ball throw it in the back of the car. It has been snagged, repaired and re-blocked.

This hole was in the border. I took a few minutes one afternoon and repaired it.

A snagged hole near the nupps in the border.
Here is the repaired section. I wasn’t able to save all of the eyelets, but I saved the nupps.

When I complete most projects, I put a yarn band and a bit of each yarn used in a sandwich bag with some basic info. Project name, yarn, needle and recipient. Then from my Ravelry project page I can have a good idea which baggy I need when it comes time to make a repair.

I don’t do this for socks. I don’t repair my socks. I love making socks and I am the only one who wears them so I have lots and lots of them. Instead I have the worn out socks in a box and have plans to make the fabric of them into other items. The left over yarn from socks goes into a special box for amigurumi and other small projects.

If you need repair services, let me know.

Happy making!

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Lace Knitting Scarf Re-release!

Here it is! I’m so excited to be re-releasing this design. This is the first of my re-releasing of my old patterns. I am doing this so that I can up date the pictures, make the text cleaner and clearer and hoping to reach some new audience members.

Please welcome the Lace Knitting Scarf! This scarf is a great way to get started in lace knitting. The “working” rows are only on one side, all the stitches are “knit” and you can make the piece as long or short as you like.

There is a special stitch in this piece called the Centered Eyelet Stitch. I have a picture tutorial at the end of the pattern and a video link to see how it is worked as well. You can find links to both of those tutorials here on the website. The picture tutorial is in the “Stitch Tutorials” section and the video is in the “Videos” section.

The pattern contains a tutorial for those who have never worked lace before. Info about chart reading, lifelines and blocking. The knitting directions are only charted, but I am open to making the written version available if desired. All my patterns come with full support, please feel free to contact me for questions or help.

The model is worked in a lace weight yarn with US size 4 needles. I have also seen it worked in heavier yarn with larger needles as well. Please choose a yarn and needle combination that you are comfortable working with. If you weigh the yarn before you begin, make the swatch, weigh the yarn again then you will know how far the yarn you have will go. If you want help with the math please ask, I love numbers!

Each design will have its own hashtag for Instagram, please use it if you share your projects there, I love to see them! #afalaceknittingscarf

Below are the links to buy the pattern in the 2 stores that I work with. If you like to support LYS and yours works with Ravelry, it is available that way as well. I’m not sure if the discount works though… To get the discount code sign up for my email list from the home page and the code will be on its way. The code is only good through April 20, 2021 so sign up soon!

Ravelry

Payhip

Lovecrafts

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Beginnings of Beginning Ami Class

Exploded bunny “diagram”.

I am putting together what is going to a bit of an intensive beginner’s amigurumi class. At this point I am planning for it to be 6 hours, with a lunch break. Much of the time will be spent crocheting, with me there to offer help and guidance.

This class will include the directions for 3 different animals. One of these animals will be made during class and its materials are included in the class fee.

The 3 animals are a bear, a bunny and a dog. At this point I haven’t completed the dog, but I know that the other 2 can be chosen from for the first project. The dog might be next level.

The class will cover yarn and hook combination choices and how to choose correctly, working in continuous rounds, counting those rounds, stuffing, assembly and embroidery.

The materials will include 100% wool yarn in worsted weight, eyes, pins, stuffing and patterns.

I am hoping to offer this class in person at festivals and for private sessions. I haven’t yet decided if I will offer it for download from Payhip. I still need to finish a class and post it there. I’ll announce here as soon as that happens.

Finished Bunny
Finished Bunny and Bear
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