I’m so excited to reveal to of you the new stitch marker designs I’ve been working on at Exchanging Fire since season seven of Doctor Who ended this summer. I’ve been preparing for the 50th anniversary and Christmas specials, of course. And what better way to enjoy them then knitting along with your very own DW-themed stitch markers? Most of the modern companions are included, as well as some of my favorite quotes and concepts from the show. I hope you enjoy!
For the November 2013 Phat Fiber box, which has a Renaissance theme, I was inspired by the wives of King Henry VIII. The Queens’ Jewels Collection represent three of King Henry VIII’s wives who were either beheaded or died tragically, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour and Kathryn Howard. The queens, or “queen consorts” as they were called, actually shared their jewelry. Well, not so much as shared by were given their predecessor’s after their death. So often in state portraits (which you can find online), you’ll see Catharine Parr wearing a necklace that once belonged to Katherine of Aragon, or even Queen Elizabeth I wearing her mother Anne Boleyn’s “B” necklace.
Don’t forget, if you purchase anything in my store from November 15 – December 17 you are eligible for the Phat Fiber Superbox Giveaway! To win this month’s Phat Incentive, which includes the contents of the November Video (aka The Superbox) AND A $150 Gift Certificate to one of the participating shops, you need to join the Phat Fiber group on Ravelry and the post what you’ve purchased in the incentive thread.
Enjoy the new designs, which are up in the Exchanging Fire shop!
This morning I got an awesome email from my best friend, letting me know that the infamous scarf has made it big – on Buzzfeed! That’s right, earlier this month the Mini Mania Scarf was featured in one of Buzzfeed’s pictorial “lists” – this time a tongue-in-cheek bit called 16 Scarves That Forgot How To Scarf. The hilarious sub-headline says, ” Seriously, scarves, you only have one job.”
I really think Buzzfeed missed the mark, though, on scarves that forgot how to scarf. There are some really stellar knit and crocheted ones out there, like:
The Squid Scarf – getting stuck on you since 2007:
And leave it to the Japanese to create the first-ever Boob Scarf, still being crafted over at BoobsRUs:
Thanks for the buzz, BuzzFeed!
So, I am working on a Bigger on the inside shawl, to coincide with my watching of Doctor Who. It’s actually been going swimmingly, considering my propensity to get bored with what I’m knitting and walk away from a project for years on end. A lace shawl finished in less than two months?! Inconceivable!
However, I’ve hit the first cables that make up the roofline of the Tardis and the instructions are so freaking unclear. Mainly this is because the designer doesn’t want you to knit these like regular cables, where you slide one stitch off, either to the back or front, and then come back to that stitch later. I can do that no problem. But her instructions call for keeping the stitches all on the same needle, and when I attempt that it comes out totally verkakte. This would all be made clear with a simple video somewhere, but does anyone on the internet have one? No. The best I can find use four stitches instead of two, or call it C2F instead of C2L, but a stitch dictionary I found online made it clear that these aren’t really interchangeable stitch terms, they are slightly different. Also, shouldn’t it be C4F if you are working four stitches, not 2? There is absolutely no standard for this term and so many “teachers” and “designers” online are using the terminology incorrectly I want to scream. Shoot me now. Also, I have a miserable cold so my patience is really low right now.
Ok, upon rereading the stitch dictionary I found online I discovered that the different between C2F and C2L appears to be that one version slips stitches and the other works them on the same needle, as this pattern calls for. Strangely enough, though, the term that calls for the stitches to be worked on one needle is C2F, while this pattern uses that definition for C2L. Do you see what I mean about no freaking standards? Makes me want to tear my hair out.
Thankfully, I did find an online tutorial that was a.) using two stitches for C2F, and was b.) knitting them the way that the designer for this pattern asks that they be knit, even if she’s using the wrong term according to others out there on the web. I’m sharing this video with all of you so that others don’t go through my personal torture. Now I’m going to go take another antihistamine.
UPDATE: Ok, so I tried to start the purl side of C2R and C2L and totally got confused. It was clearly way too late at night and I was too sick because I missed the directions entirely. Though the words didn’t really help at all. However, I found an obscure video about knitting 2-stitch Bavarian twists on the wrong side. At the end of the video, the teacher explains that these “twists can be turned into crosses” (aka C2L or C2R) by turning one knit stitch into a purl stitch. Perfect! Exactly what I was looking for. Though I did stop for a minute and think, “Wait, so does ‘C’ stands for ‘cross’ or ‘cable’? I’m so confused!” I personally followed Method A from the video and after doing it about three times along with the video I could remember it enough to do the two mock cables by myself. Just ignore her when she says to knit the first stitch – it’s always a purl stitch.
So the moral of this story? Sometimes in patterns, less is not more, more is more. After seeing those videos I could do the cables or twists all on one needle, no problem, but not being able to understand what I was doing was very difficult at first. Since these are pretty obscure techniques, in my opinion, more explanations upfront would have made this less of a hair-tearing experience.
Sometimes a love note isn’t written in words. Sometimes there are no words needed. When I design a set of stitch markers inspired by a favorite poem or song or even a TV show, I feel like these small, practical bits of jewelry for your needles are my love letters to the things I enjoy.
When I saw these rectangular blue beads with their very geometric mod style I immediately thought of the Tardis – “brand new and ancient and the bluest blue ever.” I knew they had to be turned into Doctor Who stitch markers. In some ways, Doctor Who is one long love story of the art of science fiction. These stitch markers are my love notes back.
“A daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you that I stole it? Well, I borrowed it. I always meant to take it back. Oh, that box, Amy, you’ll dream about that box. It’ll never leave you. Big and little at the same time. Brand-new and ancient and the bluest blue ever.”
These markers join the rest of my Doctor Who series, which currently contain:
“Rescue me chinboy and show me the stars.”
“Yes, that’s it. Names are funny. I’m the Tardis.”
I always enjoy talking to people in real life situations. As much as I love reading and writing and conversing with others online, nothing compares with the subtle hand and facial gestures we all subconsciously make and implicitly understand. That being said, I got to meet up with some fellow Ravelers this weekend at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. So, HiMyNameIsPurple, me (LadyDanio), samie1914, scf1270 and junebug2285 met up in the hotel lobby where this pretty picture below was taken. We had a quick lunch date in the middle of a busy Saturday and it was wonderful getting to know everyone in real life.
Sam (pictured in the pink top) and I (with the ginormous Mini Mania Scarf) met up first. Unbeknownst to me, she had just sent me a Rav message, and I was in the middle of reading a text from Lindsay (pictured in the purple and grey scarf), so we had a hilarious who’s-on-first conversation at the beginning! Once we figured out who we each were, everyone else arrived. We headed off to the hotel bar, which was serving a buffet.
Sam and Heather (in the blue) had just come out of the festival, so they showed off all of their goodies, which included some dynamite SpaceCadet Creations yarns and a handturned wooden nostepinne for ball winding. Lunch was tons of fun as we got to know each other. We discovered that most of us knew the same people from similar knit groups in the area and I think I have been roped into joining them for an evening! 😉
Since Sam and Heather had already shopped and were heading out, they were so kind as to sneak their $15 handtags to Lindsay and I so that we could slip into the festival for a few minutes without having to pay. Lindsay had been there the day before, but hadn’t been able to stay because her toddler is going through the terrible twos, and so she kindly gave me a grand tour so I didn’t waste time (yes, I had the booths I wanted to see mapped out). I think we were only there for 20 minutes, but I definitely plopped down a bunch of money on yarns!
Of course I stopped by SpaceCadet to see the dyer, Stephanie, who’s a friend of mine, and stumbled into friend and fellow designer Sara Bench, aka CelticQueen, who was the Knitty Surprise design feature for their winter issue. Her pattern Love Actually (is all around) is an absolutely adorable heart-patterned cowl.
Then I headed over to Highland Alpaca, whose yarns I love so much that I began their Ravelry database listings several years ago and try to update them whenever I see them at a new show. I was running out of time but I hit Blue Heron Yarns to tell the dyer about my favorite yarn of hers, Blue Heron Silk Merino, which I have in two different colorways. I wear the Hayworth Shawlette that is made out of that ALL THE TIME. It’s my go-to scarf for both indoors and stylish wearing in light winter weather. The dyer confessed that she loves that yarn to death as well, so much so that she keeps a private stock for her own dyeing purposes! But she let it slip that if you contact her personally she’ll do a custom order for you. If you’ve been looking for some high-end silk merino sportweight that is really fab, you should get in touch with her and ask. She also sometimes dyes it on a whim, and there were some skeins she had in kits, so you may be able to get your hands on it that way.
We had wrapped up the day by 1:30 p.m. and were heading out. I think I could have sat and talked for another hour with everyone but we’d just run out of time! It was great seeing everyone and great meeting in real life. Next time I’ll be out and about will be the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this May. Maybe you’ll see me there!
Use coupon code SPECTACULAR to save 10% off anything in my shop through Cyber Monday! Customers who spend $100 or more will also get a free gift of one of my favorite things (just specify gourmet chocolate or yarny treat in the Notes to Seller area).
Want to get exclusive coupons for even deeper discounts at my shop? Just sign up for my newsletter to receive a secret coupon offering fabulous deals throughout the weekend!
Face it – though the elections have just ended and Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, for knitters (and crocheters) everywhere, the faint sound of jingle bells can already be heard on the horizon. So it’s time for a refresher course on one of my favorite subjects – Selfish Knitting: A Study in Yarnworthiness.
Now you might think this is is a topsy-turvy concept when we are approaching a holiday season where everyone is celebrating the gift of love and sharing and all that jazz, but the concept of Selfish Knitting is not, really, after all, about being selfish. For me, being a Selfish Knitter is about doing what I love to do, and valuing my self worth. One year, I was entirely happy to knit 45 garter stitch scarves and then donate them all to the local Food Shelter as part of my church’s mitten and scarf tree. Now, this may not float everyone’s boat, and some might think I’m crazy, but for me that year, it was great, mindless entertainment. Would I do it again? Probably not. But who knows – if the spirit moved me I might do something fun like that again.
The key to Selfish Knitting is this: Selfish Knitting is about making something with love and joy in your heart, not bitterness and regret. Will you be happy to make a shawl that your grandmother will treasure in her twilight years? Will you be unhappy if you make a scarf and hat set for your benighted cousin who last year gave the lap blanket you knit her to the dog? (True story.) These are the important questions we must ask ourselves here.
So before you go all creative on me and buy a crapton of yarn that you simply MUST KNIT AS GIFTS or feel the GUILT OF OVERSTASHING, or decide you HAVE TO KNIT SOMETHING STUPENDOUS AND DIFFICULT because you OWE HER/HIM/THEM/IT SOMETHING GOOD, it’s time to determine Who Is Yarnworthy.
Knitwear designer Franklin Habit has graciously turned some of the basic Yarnworthy questions of yore into a lovely visual aid (just like those teenage magazine questionnaires we pored over in middle school!), so instead of a boring list of questions I’ll just let you all peruse the glory of the flowchart. And take notes. And find yourself a knitting needle to whack yourself with if you start straying.
To get started, just substitute “Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/Whatever-mas” for “Birthday” in the chart below:
Let’s all try to spread a little love instead of a lotta heartache this winter – be a Selfish Knitter with me! (And yes, we have a group.)
I’m really excited to be in the September Phat Fiber Box. I haven’t been able to get samples into the boxes since May (I even missed one of my favorite themes last month) so I was extra determined to make it this time around.
This month’s theme is Grimm’s Fairy Tales – think dark and mysterious forests, old and sacred but creepy at the same time. Think of German fairytales, like Cinderella with the stepsisters getting their eyes picked out, or Sleeping Beauty asleep for 100 years behind dark thorny thickets, the dust settling over her thickly in waves of time. I even watched the Grimm Brothers movie with Heath Ledger, which is set during the French occupation of parts of Germany in the late 18th century. While it is ridiculously fictional, is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in an historical time period that isn’t French or English (Do you notice that? It seems like the only Hollywood blockbuster historical movies that are pre-20th century that are produced are English, French and occasionally Scottish, even though German ancestry is the largest in the US.
Anyways, as you all may know, I have an ongoing Fairy Tales collection of stitch markers in the shop, and naturally I was thrilled to be able to use this theme to inspire me into making more designs. I submitted three of my favorite German-based sets – Snow White, Cinderella and The Frog Prince – and then I created two new sets of stitch markers to add to those three. Meet Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood!
As usual, the Phat Fiber people put together selection of videos showing off the contents of this month’s boxes, and mine were featured! I’m happy to say that I’ve even figured out how to queue the video to the right moment, so all you’ll need to do is press play to watch Jessie talk about my samples. To see all of the videos, check them out here. Enjoy!
The box goes on sale this weekend at two different times, and it flies off of the shelves like hotcakes. The box comes in a couple of different formats – Stitches (yarn) for the knitters, Fluff (fiber) for the spinners, and Mixed for those who like the effect of both. If you want all of the secret deets, send me a message via email or on Ravelry and I’ll forward you the email notification I received.
Don’t forget, if you purchase anything in my store from September 1 – October 18 you are eligible for the Phat Fiber Superbox Giveaway! The Phat Fiber team will be giving away the contents of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales Superbox, as seen in the preview video, AND s $150 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn poster!. To enter, please list any purchases you’ve made from Exchanging Fire in this thread on Ravelry.
Late one night at the beginning of August I had an idea. It suddenly occurred to me that it might be nice to give back to my faithful customers in a big celebratory way. I’m close to reaching 3,000 sales, after all, and I want to reward all of the awesome people that have helped make my hobby into a job I love. So I thought, what if I held a Customer Appreciation Week, with a coupon, free gifts, and lots of love and confetti?
I may have been feeling a little brain freeze from the air conditioning and perhaps too many hours spent winding minis while sitting Indian-style on the floor, but whatever the reason, my idea turned into a full-fledged brainstorm – what if I invite the Phat Fiber members to join in with me, to have a big, blow-out spectacular? I wasn’t sure they would like the idea, but my worries were unfounded – everyone thought it was great, and so in just under a month the Phatties over on Ravelry and I have put together a huge shopping spree for all of our loyal fans.
From Sept. 1 through the 7 you can shop at most of your favorite Phat Fiber-participating shops and find deals and gifts just for you! And of course, stop by Exchanging Fire, where I’ll be giving away special gifts to new and returning customers. Use the coupon CustomerLove to receive 15% off your order this week!
Check out the official Customer Appreciation Week thread on Ravelry to find out what goodies and gifts you could get by shopping with your favorite Phatties. Most shops, including me, are participating by using the coupon code CustomerLove, but there are a few other secret codes out there so make sure you read the thread well.