Friday, December 2, 2011

Free Pattern for Winter! The Diamond Scarf

In September, I took a chance on designing my very first knitting pattern. My goal was to do something so simple that even I could make it, and design a scarf that would look nice and yet highlight my pretty homespun. The result was my Diamond Scarf!

Well, it's now been written up, and tested, and I'm ready to release it to all of you, for free! It's my first pattern release since, er, the spring, I think, so I'm pretty excited about it!

Worsted Weight Yarn (at least 150 yards)
Size 9 Knitting Needles

Finished Size:
Width: 11”
Length: 50”

The scarf can be easily shortened or lengthened as desired by using more or less yardage.

Approximately four stitches to the inch.

Abbreviations: Note that this pattern uses US definitions.
CO: Cast On
K: Knit
K2tog: Knit 2 together
YO: Yarn over


You can modify the width of this pattern in intervals of five. Each interval of five increases or reduces the size by 1 and ¼ inch. Thus, if you want a scarf of 9 and ½ inches wide, only CO 33; or for a scarf of 13 and ½ inches wide, cast on 53; etc. To get a scarf approximate 11” wide, use the below instructions.

CO 43
Rows 1 – 8: Knit across

This pattern is constructed using a repeating 5 stitch motif.

Repeat the following pattern:
Row 1: K4, (K2tog, YO, K3) across, K4
Row 2: K4, purl across, K4
Row 3: K4, (K1, K2tog, YO, K2) across, K4
Row 4: K4, purl across, K4
Row 5: K4, (K2, K2tog, YO, K) across, K4
Row 6: K4, purl across, K4
Row 7: K4, (K3, K2tog, YO) across, K4
Row 8: K4, purl across, K4

Continue to desired length. Each repeat of this pattern adds approximately 2” in length. When you have repeated the pattern to the length that you would like, knit 8 rows, then bind off and finish.

Weave in ends. Block.

...And now you’re done!!

You can also download this pattern as a PDF from Ravelry by clicking this link!

Feel free to get in touch with me any time on his blog or on Ravelry if you have any questions!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Cards - It's That Time Again!

Wow, I can't believe it's already nearly the end of November! I've got Thanksgiving pie in the oven, plans all set for the weekend, and Christmas is right around the corner! Yes, it's that time again!

Do you write Christmas cards? If you are in the market for a truly special set of cards, I can work with you to pick out the images you like best from over hundreds of images I've taken of fall and winter, and custom print and cut you a set of cards just for you! My cards are currently selling for $2.50 each, but for the Holidays, you can get a set of 10 - 19 of my cards for $2.25 each, or 20 or more cards for $2 each! There are loads and loads of wonderful images for you to choose from, or you can tell me the kind of thing you want, and I can make suggestions!

Some of the possible images are in this post, where I advertised the cards last year (but ignore the prices, things change. ;) ). I've taken some wonderful images in the past year since then. I love winter photography!

So, if you are in the market for some nifty, nifty cards, get in touch with me! I also do prints. For holiday orders, I'll need to know what cards you want by December 10th.

To get started placing your order, e-mail me at unforth AT yahoo DOT com!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back on Track, Step by Step

It's funny, no matter how many times I go through this process, it's always so easy to forget that getting things done is a matter of taking it one step at a time. As soon as I let things accumulate - oh, I'm so far behind! oh, I have so much to do! oh, how could I have let so much time pass! - it gets overwhelming so fast, yet in the end, it's always as simple as just doing one thing.

One blog post, earlier this week, to own up to how far behind I've gotten.

One pattern, that I know is ready to go and be tested, now up in Free Pattern Testers here. I went with something recent - the scarf I made in September - but it's still a bit ambitious. I'm pretty busy, and it's my first knit pattern, and I'm really a crappy knitter still (though I'm getting better - I'm actually working on two knit projects right now!)

Once the testing is done on this, I'll be distributing this pattern for free, which gets me back on track in the area of releasing free patterns.

One day at a time, one thing at a time, I'm NOT going to give up on the dream of pulling off a craft business!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Hiatus

Even though this blog has clearly been on hiatus, I've been strangely reluctant to go ahead and make a post to that effect. I have no idea why not. It's just been a crazy fall - though, I'm happy to say, mostly not in bad ways. After a rough spring and summer, I'm still busy with work, but I've also got some good things going on in my life. I'm still playing Nerd Wars like always, and being captain of a team keeps me pretty occupied. I'm modding for the Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry, also, and keep assuming more duties. I've been traveling a lot, I've been working a lot, I've been trying to take more time with the dog, and to keep up my other responsibilities, and I've recently gotten in to a long distance relationship which is making me very happy, but also eating it's fair share of my time.

Something always falls through the cracks, and the last six months or so I guess I can't deny that that has been the craft business, and by extension this blog. I'm not gone - I'm still making things - but I don't just want my blog to be week after week of WIP Wednesday and FO Friday. So, while I figure out just what I'm doing with all this craft stuff - specifically, how can I find the time to get my patterns and such out there while still doing everything else that I'm supposed to do? - this blog has been on the sidelines.

It's not going to last long. It's surely a sign that I'm moving forward that I'm even making the hiatus post, and what's funny about it is that it's coming even as I'm expecting to break through my inertia - today, for the first time in ages, I looked at my to-do list and realized...I'm not late on ANYTHING for work right now. Oh, I've got things in progress, and a few things that are behind where they should be, but there's nothing that is waiting entirely on me that I look and think, "crap, I should have done that yesterday...or last week..." So, looking at Thursday, my next day in the office, I've decided: I'll do the work that has to be done, maybe a couple hours, and then I'm going to get organized on some pattern stuff. I've got two patterns written up that just needs some photographs before it can be tested, and I've got others that need to be prioritized, written up nicely, and then re-made by me. I know that, just as in all things, I just need to crack through the being frozen and start doing it regularly again - not every day, but often - and all will be well.

I'm looking forward to getting to share some actual honest to god progress again. Until then, I hope all of you are having a good year. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday - 10/12/2011

Well...things haven't been good in the blog-o-sphere for me, in that I've been incredibly negligent. Internet had proved to be an unexpected issue during my vacation (which was fantastic) but now I'm back, and it's good to go. I've got a new philosophy towards this blog, a new attitude towards my craft business in general, a new tournament of Nerd Wars, a new addiction to Doctor Who, and probably some other new stuff I'm not thinking of. I've also got a PILE of Works in Progress, cause I'm in the middle of a lot right now! :)

The longest-term of these projects, I started at the beginning of September, and it was my main trip project. I tackled my first ever pair of socks!

The less said about the tip of the toe, the better, but for the rest, I'm quite happy with how the first one turned out. Thank god for self-striping yarn!

Mystery Spot Blanket
I made that pillow in August, and now I'm on to the whole blanket. I've made 3 entire squares and am in to the fourth already.

I'm spacing out the making of this over the next 3 months, so I'm almost done with this month's quota. :)

The last few days, I've spun this:

Pretty thin. I'll be plying it with this:

Just as soon as it arrives from the lady I bought it from in the UK. :)

iPad Case
And last but not least, this unpromising bit of crocheting is going to be a case for my iPad.

So, that's me! It's good to be back! And there's more in the works, just not actually started yet. :)

Read all about everyone else's WIP over on Tamis Ami and Other Crochet Blog!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Finished Object Friday, 9/9/2011

Hey, I finished another project!

Beginner's Diamond Scarf
I've had this mental block about using my own homespun to make a project. The time had come to overcome this bit of ludicrousness, so I grabbed a hank of my spun yarn, and figured I'd use it to knit, cause knitting uses so much less yarn than crocheting and I wanted to make sure I ended up with something, ya know, usable. Anyway, while I was making the Gull Lace "Shawl," I realized that using those principles, it'd be pretty easy to design something similar, so I gave it ago. This scarf was the result!

I kept it very, very simple. I hoped that it would form a diagonal pattern, but instead it looks much more like diamonds. Ah well, it was a good first effort none-the-less. :) And it shows off my lovely Cathedral spun yarn, and will, I think be an excellent winter scarf for the coming season. So, er, small squee, I guess. :)

See the fine work of my fellow craft-bloggers over at Finished Object Friday (at the time of writing, her post isn't up yet! How unusual...) and over at Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finished Object Friday, 9/2/2011

Well, I've missed an entire month of FO Friday, which means I've got an entire month of Finish Objects to share! And I did make a lot in that month...all of which were Nerd Wars submissions. Oy vey. It's definitely time for me to make something not NW related - and do a post about just what Nerd Wars is, so I can just link to that every time I talk about it. The super short version's a Ravelry group for geeks. We're put on teams based on things that we are fans of, then compete to win points for our teams by making awesome FO inspired by our fandoms.


Under Arrest!
I made a little clutch for when I get arrested...

The Impala
My most ambitious FO of the past month, we were challenged in NW to make something out of non-traditional materials, so I used electrical tape, fishing line and wire to design a car.

I'm pretty proud of my little car, the wheels even turn and the doors open!

Gull Lace "Shawl"
I finally finished that "shawl"/blanket that I was knitting...

...only to discover that I seriously screwed up on my dye lots, and that my third spool was a flagrantly different shade. Fortunately, it doesn't actually show nearly as bad as in that picture!! I didn't even NOTICE til I took the shot...

Crochet Zouave Jacket
I also finally finished the crocheted zouave jacket I started in the spring.

As a reminder, I was making this based on a pattern from a fall edition of the Godey's Lady's Book published in 1862, but I discovered not long after starting that part of the pattern was actually completely incomprehensible, so I improvised like two thirds of it. It'd been like 4 hours from being finished for three months, so I'm glad to have finally FINISHED it, and I can wear it in the fall. :) The expensive, lovely fingering weight I used is soft as butta'.

Mystery Spot Pillow Case
Lastly, I made this pillow case (it's the both on both sides).

I finished this in 6 hours on Wednesday night, I've never crocheted so fast in my life, my hand wasn't hurting but it was getting crazy stiff. Unfortunately, it's much too big for the only pillow I've got, so it'll be a bit before I get a pillow that actually fits it.

Rainforest Worsted Weight
For good measure, I did some spinning! 8 ounces of pure wool, to be exact. I had four ounces each of blue and I had green, so I thought it'd be fun to mix them all together.

I just boiled it today, and once it's done, I think it's screaming "winter hat" - my old hat was made two years ago and has gotten so beat up that it's partly felted, just from all the snow it's been smothered in over the past couple winters.

Phew! It seems like a lot when I stack it all together like this, though in truth I spent most of the month feeling like a total slacker. Funny how perception is like that...

Go see all the awesome! Fiber Arts Friday! FO Friday! Wisdom Begins in Wonder and Tamis Amis and Other Creations blog - be there, or be...square? How about not-crafty?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday - 8/31/2011

Well, I'm back! And back for real, now. It's been a rough month with some amazing highs and lows. I've been super busy since I got back from all the traveling, though, catching up on both work, craft and personal stuff, so I've let a lot of days get away from me.

The highest high was that I got to see a lot of my wonderful friends and spend lots of time with them, celebrate and help put in place a wedding, sip afternoon tea, and generally love my family and the people who might as well be my family. The lowest low is that on August 19th, my 93-year-old grandfather passed away. He's been a fixture in my whole life, always present and supportive and generous. I won't say he was a saint, cause he wasn't at all, but he was my Poppop, and it doesn't yet feel real that he wouldn't be there if I called.

As for WIP, well, I think I'M the WIP this week. It's been a busy one for crafting, and I've think four or five FO for Friday (some are older that I just haven't gotten around to posting). This week is more about planning. Today is the last day of the third round of the second Nerd Wars tournament - and the last day of the tournament as a whole! Which means September is a free month, and I can start planning for the future. The big plan is this one:

I'm gonna make that blanket, except I'm going to do so in shades of black and rainbow as my contrasting colors. I'm planning to do it in Red Heart, with the thought that if I do it out of less expensive materials, I'll feel no compunction about ACTUALLY USING IT, even with the knowledge that my dog will lie on my bed and potentially damage it. :) I'm gonna buy the materials today...

Another plan is to actually mobilize and get some craft business WORK done. Man, have I been slacking all summer! Throughout the fall, I'm going to make the second drafts and publish the patterns for various things like my starfish, my roly poly king, the fox, and more.

Well, it's not much to share, but it's been that kinda month. Friday will be more interesting, with all my recent finished projects.

Join in on the fun over at Work in Progress Wednesday on Tami's Amis and Other Creations Blog!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Don't Bury Me....

Hey readers, I just wanted to put up a brief note that I'm still around and stuff, but things are too crazy right now for words. I went directly from a fun thing (Gencon!) to a not fun thing (work conference in Washington DC!) to a fun thing (one of my closest friends weddings!) to a really not fun thing (my grandfather has pneumonia, has been sent home from the hospital and is receiving hospice care). Toss in that I have a major, unavoidable, has-to-be-done-and-I'm-the-only-one-who-can-do-it work deadline on Friday and another on the 31st, and you can see why my blog hasn't been getting much updating! I haven't been crafting much anyway, when I finish work and I'm not spending my time with people I just don't have any energy left for anything (I spent an hour yesterday lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, singing along with my iPhone...yeah...)

But there's more to come! I've really been thinking hard the last couple weeks about what I want out of my crafting time, and I'll be re-aligning my priorities to start getting more patterns out again, cause I've really let that slide. I'll still be doing all my Rav stuff, too, I'll just be changing my approach. :)

One of the things I love about life is that I know that no matter how good or bad things are at any given time, there are both better and worse times ahead, and that's amazing...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday, 8/3/2011

I'm at Gencon and waiting for friends for dinner, so welcome to the lightning fast version of WIP Wednesday!

This week, I'm getting back to a couple projects I had shelved - my gull lace "shawl" baby blanket...

Which I'm about 2/3rds of the way done with...(more than last time I shared it!)

And my Angels and Demons shawl...

...which I've done NOTHING on in 6 weeks!

I'm traveling for two weeks, and these are the only projects I brought, so presumably I'll have to get SOMETHING done on them.

Check out everyone else's WIP over on Tami's Ami and Other Creations blog, where WIP Wednesday is celebrating it's one year anniversary!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Finished Object Friday, 7/29/2011

I've FINALLY finished something! Man, I don't know what's going on with me this month. :(

Anyway! A couple weeks ago I posted a teaser pic of a project I was working on that drew from about 10 different skeins of yarn. I finally, finally got that project done on Tuesday!

The Dragon Banner
In Nerd Wars, one of the challenges this month was to make something inspired by a fandom other than the one for your team. I'm on the team for Supernatural, and there are a LOT of other teams who have fandoms that I adore - Babylon 5, Star Trek, video games, comic books/manga, MMORPGs, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and more. It was a really tough choice, but finally I decided to go with my original love: series fiction - specifically, in my case, series fantasy. I made a banner in honor of my favorite character in my (I guess it's my) favorite series of books - Rand al'Thor from Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time. Without giving away any spoilers, this is the banner of the Dragon, and it's described as follows in the book:

”Character 1 and Character 2 took the bundle of white cloth…and unfolded it between them. A long, white banner spread out, lifting on the air…the whole thing seemed of a piece, neither woven, nor dyed, nor painted. A figure like a serpent, scaled in scarlet and gold, ran the entire length, but it had scaled legs, and feet with five long, golden claws on each, and a great head with a golden mane and eyes like the sun. The stirring of the banner made it seem to move, scales glittering like precious metals and gems, alive, and he almost thought he could hear it roar defiance.

“‘What is it?’ Rand said.

“Moiraine answered slowly. ‘The banner of the Lord of the Morning when he led the forces of Light against the Shadow. The banner of Lews Therin Telamon. The banner of the Dragon.’”

Based on this description, and a similar-but-very-slightly-different-one in another of the books, I designed and made my own Dragon banner!

It's BIG - about as tall as I am!

I made the chart myself. It was so hard to keep track of where I was in the pattern that I carefully made a check mark every time I finished a row!

To make the face extra awesome, I used gold blending filament with the red:

And to accomplish the "shimmered like it was gems" look, I used iridescent blending filament mixed with the white:

All in all, it was a bitch to make - it was SO hard to keep all the threads straight, and then my dog got it all tangled and I almost cried, but I persevered, and I'm so proud of how the FO turned out!

See what every one else has been up to! Check out Fiber Arts Friday brought to us by Wonder Why Gal, and Finished Object Friday's organized by Tami!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday, 7-20-2011

Still busy, still having trouble getting back in to good, regular blog posting habits, and this time I'm writing while traveling! This week is the 150th anniversary of the battle of Bull Run, the first major battle of the American Civil War, so I'm crashing with a friend who lives in Silver Springs (same friend I stayed with for Maryland Sheep and Wool...), cause from here I can get to the battlefield in 45 - 60 min, depending on traffic (ok, apparently 90 min in really bad traffic...stupid Beltway...). The actual anniversary of the battle is tomorrow, but I'll be visiting the battlefield today to scout it out (it's one of the only big battlefields of the war I haven't been to...okay, just as I was writing that I actually thought about it and realized I still haven't been to a handful of other important ones - Vicksburg, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Atlanta, any of the Seven I amend the statement, it's the only battle that anyone who isn't a Civil War buff has heard of that I haven't been to. :) ) It's the first stop on my "as many major battlefields on 150th anniversaries as possible" tour, which will be over the next 4 years, and I'll write more about it over the next couple days, complete with pictures, just as soon as I figure out what to say. :)

ANYWAY! That doesn't mean no crafting! Last week's WIP is a couple hours procrastination from being finished, so I'll hold off on posting it. However, I needed a commute project for earlier this week (ie, something small and easily portable that only required one or two balls of yarn) and so I, wonder of wonders, started knitting something! I haven't knit anything in a year, and this is the most complex knitting project I've followed since I was about 12 years old (I briefly knit more than I crocheted for a little while when I was a kid because my mom got this great book of knit stuffed toys and showed me how to make them. I learned a bunch very quickly and then have forgotten all of it in the 15 years since then.) The pattern is very simple, which is good, because when it said to ssk I not only had to look up what that meant and watch a video on how to do it, I also had to look up how to slip a stitch. That's how novice I am at knitting (before this project, I could cast on, knit, purl, and YO, and that's it. :) ) Anyway, here it is!

I'm in the second of three balls of yarn. I don't know if that'll be big enough, but I only have three, so it'll have to be good enough. I'm very happy with this yarn - it's Paton's "Classic Wool" and I bought it on clearance at Michael's, it's soft and warm and 100% wool and the color is great. As to the pattern, I really wanted to make a shawl but when I looked even at very easy patterns I was intimidated by making a triangle or circular shape, so I decided to make something square until I felt more comfortable. This is technically a baby blanket pattern, but I'm hoping it'll be big enough to wrap around my shoulders and pretend it's a shrug. :)

I've made SO MANY mistakes that it's kind of hilarious. However, the pattern is pretty forgiving, and I don't think any of them show unless you know what you are looking for (That said, when you do know what you are looking for they show really bad, so few of my pattern rows are lining up). However, I'm making it work, and I'm getting much better at knitting, so all in all I'm calling it a win. :) Some day I'm sure I'll look back on it and think it's terrible, but that's fine. Best of all, even just with this simple project I feel like I'm getting a better grasp on how knitting works. One or two more and I think I could design something like this pretty easily. Which is awesome. :)

Check out all of the awesome by others over on

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday - 7/13/2011

I'll admit I'm rather ashamed at how infrequently I've been posting of late. I'm trying a different way of scheduling my work time, and I can't say that I think it's working yet - oh, I'm getting lots and lots of work done, but hardly anything else - and I'm still trying to figure out how best to change things so that I can maintain some kind of healthy balance.

Anyway, I've got two WIP this week. One I'm not going to share more than a teaser on, because I'm very happy with it and proud of the work I've done on it and I expect to be done by Friday, so I'll share it then. The other I haven't actually started yet, so I guess the shot I have is a teaser as well. :)

Mystery WIP 1

So that's my project. Yes, it's connected to ALL of the balls of yarn sitting on the table (except the yellow one that's barely visible in the background, and the two on toilet paper rolls on the right). Yes, this has been a nightmare. Especially when my dog got excited when I got home one day and got herself tangled in it and then dragged it across my apartment. I lost two hours of crocheting time to fixing that particular mess. However, it's turning out just how I wanted. Heck, I think it's going better than I thought it would. So I'm excited. :) Should be finished by Friday if all goes as planned and the dog doesn't knock it over again...

When Yarn Ain't Yarn...
One of the Nerd Wars challenges this month is "alternate yarnality" - the idea is to craft using things that aren't yarn. Here are the materials for what I'm planning to make:

I can't wait to get started, but I have to finish the other first...

Check out everyone else's progress over on Tami's Ami and Other Creations blog!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finished Object Friday, 7/1/2011

For yet another week, a super quick post! I had no WIP worth sharing, but I come to Friday with two FO to show!

I'm calling this 100% wool that I actually got a little where I wanted it on the thickness scale "antique rose."

8 ounces in all; no idea how many yards cause I haven't counted yet.

The Colt
It's been AGES since I designed an ami. I went in to yesterday with one Nerd Wars challenge yet, knowledge of exactly what I wanted to make, and conviction that I didn't have time. I went for it anyway - and managed to finish!

I'm really, really happy with how it turned out. The coolest part is that the bullets can be unloaded and loaded into the chamber, which turns.

Yeah, I'm proud. :)

Now I just have to make it again and figure out how to describe some of the weird crap I did to make it look that way... :)

Have a great Fourth of July weekend, to everyone who might care about such things! :)

See all the awesomeness at Finished Object Friday on Tamis Ami and Other Creations Blog and Fiber Arts Friday on Wisdom Begins in Wonder!