Thursday, 31 August 2017

Lace Leaf Market Bag Test Knit

Hello, and here's my newest test-knit call, this one for my (tentatively named) Lace Leaf Market Bag!

A mesh market bag with a half-open drawstring top.

This is a worsted/aran weight market bag with a drawstring closure, though it could easily be knit with other weights of yarn, as well. The sample is knit up in FibraNatural Good Earth in "Custard".

If people are interested, sign ups are here on the Ravelry Thread!  You will have to be a member to view and post to the thread, but sign up is free, and Ravelry is very awesome resource!

Also, if you want to be notified on Ravelry about new test knits, you can PM me on Ravelry to sign up in my test-knitter's thread.  I'll also post test-knit calls here, to my other social media platforms (Facebook, G+, Patreon), and, I'll send out test-knit calls to those on my mailing list (e-mail sign up link), so hopefully, anyone who's interested will see my test-knit calls.

Well, that's it for this short update.  On the test-knitting front, my Entrelac Mitts pattern is in the draft process now, so look for a test-knit call for those coming up soon, too!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

WIP Wednesday: Persian Dreams KAL

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Well, for this installment of WIP Wednesday, I'm going back to a neglected project.

 I've been neglecting my *Persian Dreams KAL blanket for way, way too long. I've (still) only got two hexagons done.  Pattern is the absolutely gorgeous Persian Dreams pattern, by Jenise Hope, and the KAL is being run by the good folks at *EatSleepKnit.

A single fair-isle hexagon, on a pair of circular needles.
Two multi-coloured fair-isle knit hexagons, knit from the centre out. The stitches are still live and on various scrap yarn But, I'm taking some time away from a third Snowdrop Cowl (it looks just the same as the last one right now, but in green instead of red), to work on another hexagon of the of the blanket.  That brings me to 3 of 24 hexes, with lots to do before the end of the year!  I'm not sure if I can pull it off, but I can try, right?

Yarn is a*Manos del Uruguay's Fino, in a variety of colours.  Colours so far for the Hexagon in progress are "Gaslamp" (Yellow), "Pocketwatch" (Red-Orange),  "Wardian Case" (Green), "Peacock Plume" (Teal), and "Mourning" (Navy Blue), with the background being "Ivory Letter Opener."

The edges of each hex are left live, and held on scrap yarn.  The whole thing is supposed to be Kitchener-stitched together when done. It's a good thing I don't mind Kitchener stitch, but I will completely admit that the thought of that does daunt me! (Plus, weaving in all the ends promises to be a week's worth of work in itself! Eeek!)

All that said, the pattern is actually really awesome. The only thing that's not immediately clear about this pattern so far is how to do the border.  Some of the hexes have  a a knitted-on border on some sides (depending on where in the blanket that hex will go.) That part's fine and makes sense. But I'll admit to being a bit confused as to how, exactly, to sew up the border.  The hexes are grafted together, but the border is sewn.  I'm hoping and assuming it will make more sense once I actually get to that point.

I'm doing my version in a whole bunch of matching, purpose-bought colours, but it's occurred to me this would also make an amazing stash-busting blanket, and be a great way to use up those sock yarn scraps that most knitters seem to have!

Anyway, that's this weeks WIP, and I hope you enjoyed! 

Friday, 25 August 2017

FO Friday and The Canadian Knitter's Podcast Canada KAL: Slipped Stitch Socks!

 I'm proud to present my first finished entry for The Canadian Knitter's Podcast Canada KAL!

A pair of socks knit in a gradient yarn.  One sock is a brown-tan-yellow ombre, while the other sock is a yellow-green-blue ombre.

They're my Slipped Stitch Gradient Socks, and they've featured here on the blog a few times now.

I'm glad to have them done, even if they did come out drastically different.  I was originally thinking they'd just be fraternal socks.  But they're so different, that now I'm thinking I'll make a second pair, so I have two matching pairs to sell in my Etsy Shop.

Yarn is The Blue Brick's Killarney Sock, in "Kim's Barn".  And despite the fact that the socks came out so differently, it is a gorgeous gradient!

And, now that these are off the needles, I can put those needles to work on other projects, so, win-win!

I'm not preciously sure when this pattern will go live for testing, since I'm somewhat behind in my pattern drafting.  I'm hoping for mid to late September at this point.  So, as usual, stay tuned here for more information!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

WIP Wednesday, Snowdrop Lace Cowl

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Welcome to the next installment of WIP Wednesday!

A cowl knit in bulky bright red wool  It's scrunched up on a set of circular needles.This time around, here's a look at another Snowdrop Cowl I'm knitting up.  This one will eventually be for sale in my Etsy shop when I finish it.   I know, it's scrunched up and ugly right now, but you can blame part of that on the needles I'm using.   Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my old Aero needles, but the cords on them don't unkink well (at all really), so the knitting ends up rather wonky.  (Is 'wonky' a technical term?) 
 The yarn is Blue Sky Fibers Bulky in the colour "Lava." It's a gorgeous yarn to work with, but it's definitely Super Bulky. It's like knitting with rope!  That's not a bad thing though, so long as you're using big enough needles. These are 6mm needles, and they're probably the smallest I would go with this yarn (even the 6mms are a tight knit).

The only thing I can say that's not awesome about this yarn is that is sheds:  I was picking little red fuzzies off my shirt all last night!  It's 50% wool, 50% alpaca, but it's a lightly spun single.  It's almost like working with pencil roving!  So the fuzz and shedding is somewhat to be expected. This will definitely be a hand-wash only item when I finish it!

The *Feather Stitch marker is another part of my Etsy haul from *EfficientSense's Etsy Store, and since it's a locking lobster clasp, there's no problems using it with the bulky yarn or 6mm needles!

Stay tuned for next week's WIP Wed, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

WIP Wednesday: Convolution Hat, Take Two

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

I started work on the Convolution Hat last December, and . . . well, lets just say that it needed a second try.  While I love how the pattern's working out, what you can't tell from the previous photo is that it didn't turn out quite right.

I tried fixing the flaring of the ribbing by hemming my prototype, which kind of worked.  But not enough that I was happy with it, so, it was clearly a time for as second prototype:

A worsted-weight hat knit in red yarn with spiralling cables and a flared ribbed brim.

I'm just working along the beginning of the crown decreases.  Even though I altered the ribbing, it's still flaring, but I think this time it will work better hemmed.  And, if not, I'll alter the ribbing again and try again with a third prototype! (Third time's the charm, if it comes to it!)

The yarn is *Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash, in "Rose", and I'm not sure if the colour is still available or not.   The needles are my inherited Aero needles, with their thick circular cord (I love the Aero needles, but the cords on the Aero circulars are always a pain-in-the-behind).  And you can find the *rose stitch marker I'm using in *EfficientSense's Etsy Store. (and, as always, I have to say that I absolutely love her stitch markers.)

I originally planned to have this up for testing a while ago, but the ribbing is definitely refusing to cooperate.  If this prototype does what I want, I'm hoping to have it up for testing in September/October, so, stay tuned here!

My intent is to make WIP Wed a weekly feature here on the blog, so, stay tuned for more posts about what's on my needles and what I'm working on. Wish me luck, and thanks for tuning in!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Patreon Update: New Goals, New Rewards!

Well, here's an update to my Patreon Page!

Two updates, really, but they're related enough I figure they can be a single blog post.

Update Number One:

I've adjusted my rewards around, and I now have a new $10 reward tier! If you follow me on Patreon or other social media, you'll be seeing the details of this soon, if you haven't already.
A yellow box wrapped with silver ribbon and tied with a bow.

The simple version is: my $10 Pattern Muses get a say in some of patterns I'll be releasing. It's a 6 month production cycle, and I just posted the first poll (for a Jan 2018 release).  The next poll (for an April 2018 release) will go up in October 2017.

In addition, I might solicit more feedback, depending on the type and style of the pattern I end up working on.  And finally, the pattern will be free to the Pattern Muses, until the next pattern in the cycle is released.

Update Number Two:

I've posted a new goal -- I'd love to be able to have a Coworking Membership.

A notebook, pen and cup of coffee on a desk. As I think I've mentioned on the blog before, I work from home, which is great, until it's not.  It's hard to focus on work when I know the bathtub needs to be cleaned, or if my roommate is home or others are over. I don't have a private work space (I work in our living room/kitchen), so it can be a challenge to get things done if there's other stuff going on. Plus, despite my best efforts, the cats do get into my work.   It's not a problem for me, but it is a problem if I'm trying to keep cat hair off a sample knit.

Plus, I got the chance to try out a co-working space on International Co-working day (yes, that exists), and I loved it.  I got a lot done, far more then I thought I would (though I was overly optimistic about how much knitting I'd have to bring with me, but isn't that always the way?  Better to have too much knitting then not enough!)

Also, the co-working membership gets me access to health insurance (very important!), networking and advertising opportunities, teaching space, and more.  It'll be amazing, if I can make it work!

So, I figured, it deserved a goal on Patreon.

As always, thoughts, feedback, and comments are all welcome -- I'm still new to Patreon, so letting me know what you'd like to see (or not like to see) would be amazingly helpful!

Until next time!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

August Featured Pattern: Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts

Well, here's the continuation of my featured patterns!

What does being a featured pattern mean?  Well, each time I feature a pattern, it will be half-off for that month!  It's a chance to bring forward patterns that might not get as much attention, or show off something that is super-popular.  

The featured patterns will be chosen from my self-published patterns, and if there's something you're just desperate to see be featured, drop me a line with a compelling reason!  I can't guarantee that I'll feature all requested patterns, but I'll definitely take a look!

For the month of August, my half-price featured pattern is my Spiralling Star Fingerless Mitts Pattern.
Someone wearing a pair of fingerless mittens. The mittens are knit in a dark green fingering-yarn and use a textured star stitch over the body of the mitten.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace

You can buy the pattern through Ravelry or Etsy, the discount is available on both platforms.  The discount should be applied automatically on Ravelry, or already be visible on Etsy.   As always, let me know if something doesn't work!

And, for the month of August, any finished objects using the Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens linked in the comments of this blog post, have a chance to win a pattern from any of my self-published patterns!  To enter on the blog, simply post a link to your completed Spiralling Star Fingerless Mittens in the comments of this post by Aug 31, 2017.  Please note that the Mittens don't have to have been started in August, just finished in August.

You can also win by posting to the giveaway on Facebook, and in my Ravelry Group, giving 3 chances to win in total!*

I always look forward to seeing your Finished Objects! Please post them to various social media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, and/or to my Ravelry Group if you're on Ravelry.  That way, I can see the awesome that you folks make!

*One entry per person per platform (three entries total). Winners will be drawn at random using random number generation. Winners must have a valid e-mail address to receive the patterns. Participants may enter the same project on more then one platform, but may only enter each project once per platform.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

I'm on Patreon!

A few of you have probably seen the "become a patron" button on the blog sidebar, or noticed that there's now a Pages Tab called "Patreon Sponsors"

Because, yep, I'm now on Patreon!

Patreon Logo

Ok, wait, what is Patreon?

Patreon is a simple way for my followers and fans to contribute to my work creating patterns, knitwear, and teaching content, by pledging their support once a month! And, you'll get great rewards in return. There's a list of (hopefully awesome) rewards; from your name and website mentioned in credits on my blog, sneak peeks of my work, access to a live-chat with me, up to free patterns from my collections! (Oh, and if you think of an awesome reward I'm not offering that you think I could, let me know!)

So why should anyone become my patron?

Ok.  I'll be honest and say that money is a consideration.  But it's not the primary one.  The primary reason is because this is a way for me to give away exclusive awesome content to people who are really willing to work with me on this amazing fiber stuff!   And, Patreon will help fund the resources what I do do for free within that community community, stuff like free patterns, and an upcoming Youtube Channel full of free tutorials! (More on that later!)

Also, as a business tool, Patreon allows for stability in funding.  Most small artists, myself included, don't have the luxury of being able to court any kind of larger investors or big financial backing to cover our expenses, so expenses vary wildly month-to-month.  And, I will say, it's hard to focus on knitting when I'm worried I won't be able to make rent.  Patreon is a form of stable crowdfunding that takes way those fears, and lets me focus on making awesome things.

But, that said, please don't feel like you're obligated to become a patron.  If you're not comfortable doing so, I completely understand.  Not everyone has the money; or is comfortable with crowdfunding, or any number of other reasons; why you might not become a patron.  Please, don't worry about it.

And, if you're looking for other ways to support my work (for which you are awesome, and thank you!) you can buy my patterns, purchase classes from me, follow me on Social Media,  or, use my affiliate links to purchase something -- I'll get a varying commission if you do.   Even knitting up a project and posting it to Ravelry, or tagging it with #SarahDawnsDesigns on Facebook or Instagram is a help!

Well, as always, any questions, comments, concerns or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or send me a quick e-mail.

Thanks for reading, folks!