Sunday, January 25, 2015

Jaywalkers and Tom Brady

I finished my first pair of socks for 2015. Jaywalkers, by Grumperina.

I used a skein of yarn that I dyed myself in... I think 2010? 2011? I got it in my head at some point that I was going to be a yarn dyer, so I amassed a collection of Jacquard dyes, a pot, and a whole bunch of undyed sock yarn. I did six or seven skeins, then totally lost steam for it. I sold a couple on Etsy, traded one on Ravelry, knitted a shawl (only shawl I've ever knitted) with another, and I've got a couple left in my sock yarn stash. When I dyed this skein I think I was going for a peacock-y color scheme, with teals, purples, blues, all dark and jewel tone-y, which it turns out is hard to do. I seriously overdyed this skein about eight times to get what I wanted. Too much. But it's pretty, so there we are. And now it's socks.

I kind of hated knitting the first sock of this pair. The second was a lot easier. Don't know why. I didn't read the pattern very well, so when I read the instruction to make a double decrease, I did slip one-k2tog-pass slipped stitch over instead of slip two together knitwise, knit one, pass slipped stitches over. That leads to a very different looking decrease than what I made, and I'm a bit bummed about it, but you know what? It was a good lesson. Read the pattern before just going off to knit willy-nilly.

I like these socks because they don't sag. Some of my socks sag over the course of the day, but the stitch pattern on these is of the stay-put variety. I like that.

My next pair of socks has a pretty serious deadline: the Superbowl! My beloved Patriots steamrolled the Colts to earn a spot in the game of all games, and no I don't want to talk about the balls. I decided that I'm making Pats socks. I thought about doing something fancy and knitting the logo onto the leg, or the number 12 onto the top of each foot, but in the end I thought simpler is probably better, and I went with an athletic sock look. I'm through the gusset on the first sock, and I've got a week left, so I think it's doable. Go Pats! Yay Tom Brady!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Water Skaters: A new cowl pattern

Thank you to all who entered my naming contest! You guys all had some great ideas, and I wish I could name the cowl like five different things, but I had to pick one: Water Skaters, courtesy of Nancy Jo. Hey Nancy! Send me a message on Ravelry (EmilyRingelman) and I will send you some coupon codes for patterns!

So here it is: Water Skaters, a large-scale lace cowl pattern. The lace is both written out and charted, so if you've never knitted from a chart before, you could learn. This pattern is suitable for beginners, but  it's interesting enough for knitters of any skill level.

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, in the color Punky Fuchsia: 180 or so yards. Use any worsted or aran weight yarn that strikes your fancy.

Size: About 8.5 inches tall and 12 inches across. There are notes in the pattern to guide you in making either a taller cowl or a longer one.

As a new-pattern release celebration, the pattern is 40% off for the rest of January! No coupon code needed, just purchase the pattern on Ravelry for the discount.

$4 on Ravelry, no account needed!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Naming Contest!

I will freely admit that I suck at naming patterns. Sometimes I get on a streak where I'll name five patterns after town names or something, but for the most part, I'm just not good at it. Can't be good at everything, right? So, after a Twitter conversation with my invisible internet friend, I've decided to try something new. Let's have a naming contest for my newest cowl pattern, with the winner getting a copy of that pattern plus a copy of any other self-published pattern in my Ravelry store, winner's choice. Sound like fun? I thought so, too.

Here's the cowl. It's a large-scale lace thing, with garter stitch edgings. It's pink. I like pink.

If you have an idea, leave a comment on this post and tell me what you'd name this pattern! You can enter as many times as ideas. I'll pick a winner on Sunday, January 18th, and that person will receive some patterns! I have faith in you all. Surely someone is better than me at names. Good luck!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Slippers and socks, socks and slippers

Super goofy looking! But warm and lovely.

I finished my Christmas knitting on December 22nd, which I think was a first for me. I'm so often knitting a last-minute hat on Christmas Eve, and I hate that. I did a much better job of planning ahead this year, and to reward myself for such good behavior, I cast on for a pair of Ysolda's Cadeautje Slippers on the 23rd. She originally released this pattern as part of a subscription-based pattern collection, with one pattern released every two weeks in the couple months leading up to Christmas. Genius, especially because the patterns weren't available individually until December 15th, which isn't too too late for Christmas knitting, but it's close, so she gets you there. I wish I'd thought of that. 

All those white bits are fluff on the inside. Squooshy squooshy fluff.

Anyway, I bought the pattern the second it was available as an individual download, but didn't have time to start until the 23rd. I whipped that first slipper out in two evenings flat. I passed it around the couch for all the visiting relatives to try on, and every single person fell in love. The inside is so wonderfully fluffy and squooshy because they're thrummed, which is a fantastic technique, and I can tell they're going to be so, so warm. I immediately cast on for the second one, knitted the sole, then stalled. 

Can I tell you something? Knitting the foot part is a huge, giant, sucky pain in the butt. It's too many stitches for a set of double-points, but the angles are too harsh for a 16" circular, and I don't have a needle long enough to properly magic loop it. I struggled through the first one just because I wanted to make these so badly, but I'm having such a hard time convincing myself to just do it again and knit the second one. I tried last night (using 5 dpns and a 16" circular as a sixth needle... I'm so clever), and got all the way through the toe cap before I realized that I knitted the toe onto the heel. Fun. 

While I'm working up the fortitude to just finish the damn slipper I remembered that I knitted one Jaywalker sock a few months ago and put it away in the knitting basket. I'm a fan of matching socks (as I assume most people are, ha), so that one sock isn't doing me any good. I pulled out the project bag and started on the second sock, then got distracted with design work. So now I have one and a partial slippers, and one and a partial socks. This is helpful to no one, so I think I just need to devote some time this week to slippers and socks... which is better said than done when the yarn for 4 sweater designs is calling my name and I really, really want to paint my kitchen, but also I should really be submitted design ideas for some upcoming pubs, and the dishwasher needs unloading yet again. Life! So busy. Not enough time to sit and knit something just for fun.

So here's to finishing my first pair of socks in 2015, and sticking my cold tootsies into those fluffy slippers. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good riddance, December 2014.

This has been a terrible month. I have been to the dentist four times this month, to the tune of many hundreds of dollars. My cat has started barfing up hairballs every night due to some skin issue, so that's been fun. I didn't get a job I needed. A submission I was positive would get accepted didn't. The new EU VAT laws have caused me (and all other designers) a world of trouble and worry, resulting in me having to close my Craftsy store. A couple days ago, I had an emergency doctor visit and now I'm on antibiotics with no alcohol allowed... and it's new years, so champagne. To top it off, Roto Rooter just left my house, because a huge rainstorm a few days ago backed up our sewer system and sewage was coming out of the shower drains. So I say: GOOD RIDDANCE 2014. Here's to a 2015 full of knitting, laughter, and better luck.

2015 was not all bad. I had three third-party pubs this year:

The Admiralty in Holla Knits Home Collection

 Delaware is for Cables in Knitty, First Fall

Coronis in PomPom Quarterly Issue 10 (on the cover, even!)

And I self-published 19 patterns, including two e-books.

My 2014 goal was 6 pairs of socks, which in hindsight was an easy goal. I think I made 10 pairs, including 4 gift pairs. My sock goal for 2015 is "use up the sock yarn you've got before buying more." I think it's an admirable goal. My yarn storage is limited, and I get overwhelmed with a large stash, so I want to try to knit socks only from the stash. We'll see how long that lasts.

Other 2015 goals include publish more patterns with magazines, be better about blogging regularly, improve my limited photography skills, and try to branch out away from top-down raglans in my design work.

Happy New Year's to you, and I hope your December was better than mine.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

GAL designer interview with digitalnabi

As part of the 2014 Gift-A-Long on Ravelry, I'm interviewing fellow designer Heather Zoppetti (digitalnabi on Ravelry). A bit about Heather that I shamelessly stole from her Ravelry page:

Heather Zoppetti is a knitwear designer, teacher, and author of Everyday Lace (Interweave, 2014). She lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband and yarn collection. Her patterns have been published in many Interweave publications and by yarn companies such as Manos del Uruguay, Baah!, Reywa Fibers, The Alpaca Yarn Company, and Universal Yarns.

Here are a couple of my favorite digitalnabi designs: 
Mormorio, a sock yarn wrap thing

And now, my questions, and some answers.

Who are you? What do you do? Are you a full time designer?

I'm a full-time designer and small business owner. I'm the founder of Stitch Sprouts (check us out on, which really has become my full-time job. We distribute wholesale patterns, yarn, and stitch markers to yarn shops across the country (and even some internationally). We also provide services like graphic design and technical editing.

You wrote a book, so that's pretty awesome. What's your preference: individual self-published patterns, third-party pubs, or a large project like a multi-pattern book?

I love working on big projects like books. Something about having a huge goal is satisfying. However, small self-published patterns have a more immediate it's a hard decision. I'm going to take the easy way out and say that I like both for different reasons. 

What's first for you: yarn, stitch pattern, pattern name, general idea, something else?

Any and all. Some patterns start with a stitch pattern that I've fallen in love with. Others start with a specific request from a yarn company. It's always a new and exciting process ---that's what I really love about designing, it never gets boring. 

Do you ever knit other designers' patterns, or is there just not time? If you do get to knit things by others, is it mostly for you or do you make things as gifts?

Unfortunately, I almost never have time to knit others' patterns. Sometimes I don't even have time to knit my own (I hire sample knitters)! If I do make something from another designer, it almost always ends up as a gift for someone else. Which is kind of sad; I have very few knitted things that I get to wear myself. 

Was this your first year participating as a GAL designer?

Yes. Last year I was too late to sign-up and was sad that I missed out on all the fun. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014


If you're on Instagram, you've probably seen pictures of knitted socks in various states of completion with the hashtag "operationsockdrawer."
"But what does that mean?" you ask. "It sounds so serious!"
I was hoping to find out that it's a group effort to introduce more handknit socks into the world, or a motivator to finish one new pair a month, or even an encouragement to knit socks from your stash sock yarn before buying new sock yarn, which is something I could definitely use some help with, but no. From what I can tell, there is no actual Operation Sock Drawer, there is only a hashtag. It means nothing except that "Hey I made/am currently making these socks and now they're on Instagram." Oh well. No idea where this got started, but I like showing off what I've made, and I like seeing other people's socks, so I'll keep using it.

So! This is my actual sock drawer. It makes me happy. #operationsockdrawer

The self-patterning pair in the middle is my newest addition. I finished them just before the Christmas knitting extravaganza started, and by that I mean that I needed the needles they were on for Christmas knitting so I had to hurry up and finish the socks. And... I sort of hate these socks. 1) They're goofy. 2) They're not that warm, which is super weird, because they're wool socks. 3) They're not very soft, probably because the yarn has a bit more nylon than most sock yarns. 4) They're goofy.

The yarn is Berroco Sox and I have to say... I won't buy it again. That's fine, because my sock yarn stash is getting a bit out of control. I think I have enough sock yarn to double my current sock collection. I know that a lot of knitters would laugh at that, but I try to keep the stash in check. No point in having oodles of yarn just sitting there in your sewing room, taunting you, because you currently have eleventy million things on the needles so you can't (ahem, shouldn't) cast on anything else even though that skein of Miss Babs is calling your name... no. Best to keep the temptation out of the house, that's what I always say.