norichan knits!

Easy Origami Square Base

Noriko HoComment

I've been making origami cranes and flapping birds since I was in elementary school, and even have a collection of cranes I've been making since undergrad with an eventual goal of hitting 1000.  Clearly, I haven't been working non-stop on it, but I'm probably about 75% the way there. ;o) 

Recently, my friend wanted to make a bunch and she noted how much longer it was taking her than she thought it would.  After realizing that she was folding the square base the "traditional" way (the way most books tell you to fold it), I tried to find online directions for how I fold the square base, and discovered that it was basically impossible to find a way much different from the typical method.  So, here's how I fold the square base in origami:

Start with your origami square:

Step 1:  Fold your paper in half.

Optional:  Step 1.5:  Unfold and then fold your paper in half the other direction.  This will give your paper an extra guideline and fold line to follow, if it is needed.  I typically skip this direction.

Step 2:  With the paper oriented as above, fold the upper right corner down to begin folding a triangle.

Step 2.5:  Flip your piece over.

Step 3:  Repeat Step 2, and fold the upper right corner down on the opposite side.

This next picture is just to demonstrate how the triangle folds are oriented.  They are on opposite sides of each other, not the same.  

Step 4:  The next series of pictures are all to explain step 4.  You need to open up the middle section, and pinch the outer two corners (circled in red below) together.  As that happens, you will notice it folding into the square base.

And, ta-da!  Square base!  Replay of the steps:

(1) Fold in half, (optional, fold in half the other direction), (2) fold corner down, flip, (3) fold other corner down, (4) reach into the middle and fold outer corners together.  Done!  :oD  Please let me know if any step is confusing, I can certainly try to explain in a different manner or take better pictures.  

Enjoy!


Challenges

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Working a lot, traveling, finding myself with more deadlines (most of them self placed pattern writing deadlines), etc has started to wear on me.  So, I've found ways to create small challenges for myself to keep me motivated and staying positive.  :o)  Here are a few of the challenges that I have recently started.  

We can start with the pretty challenge!  At this year's Madrona Fiber Fest, I purchased this roving.  It's super soft and so cool with the alpaca staying it's super dark color and silk becoming ultra intense in color!  :oD  I decided to drop spindle this fiber so I can really enjoy it.  Because of the fiber content, I decided to spin from the fold (a technique I haven't tried in probably... 8 years!).  I haven't gotten past that yellow tail you see there, but I'm enjoying it so far!  

Next is the StitchJones Neon Design Challenge that I've blogged about in the past!  I've figured out what I want to do, and I'm already 1/3 the way done!  Can't show the design just yet, so you'll just have to trust that I'm really liking the results.  

Oh and speaking of challenges... capturing that neon green is definitely a challenge!!  That color above is not quite right... but I couldn't get the camera to get it just right.  :op  

The last challenge for the day is one that's actually really hard for me.  It's downsizing my stuff.  I have given myself an attainable feeling challenge of removing five items from my life each day I have off.  That can be something like a book that I haven't tried to reread in years, a piece of clothing I am not excited to wear anymore, a tote bag I got for free but never use b/c I have better quality ones, or even a piece of junk mail that I should have recycled when it came in, but instead it went into a pile of "to be sorted."  I am even counting a wrapper that I left on the coffee table instead of throwing out day of because it's still getting something that is cluttering my life, and getting it out.  

This last challenge is hard for me because I will always find a reason that something is useful, sentimental, or "needed."  However, with each move, I find myself in a smaller apartment, smaller closet, less storage space, etc.  I need to be able to free myself of the things that I am not using so that I can actually get to the things I do want to use!  I'm actually remarkably pleased with my results so far, and plan on continuing.  One day, then it'll turn into having just what I need and then only removing things that are wasteful that have come in, like recycling ads.  :o)  

A Four(ish) Day Project

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I met up with a friend over coffee a little bit ago, and she had brought a handspun Hipstamatic to show me!  It was sooooo gorgeous, that I had to try it myself.  She had been ecstatic to tell me that it had taken her about 2 days to make all together.  From then on, I became obsessed with the idea of handspinning and knitting my own bulky weight yarn and knitting up yet another Hipstamatic.  

I haven't been able to spin a consistent bulky weight ply... well, ever, but I really wasn't concerned for consistency for this project.  I wanted fun and funky, and so thick and thin was exactly what I was looking for!  I spun up each single in 1 day each (allowing them to rest overnight before plying).  

I used the super easy method of winding each ply onto a toilet paper core, then plying off of those.  As you can see, I misjudged things, and I had a good amount more of one ply leftover, so I ended up Andean plying the remaining amount.  This took one more day, and then I let it rest overnight, as well, before washing and thwacking.  

I wish I had a decent picture of the yarn itself prior to knitting up, but I can't seem to find the pics I took of it.  The final yarn was so fun and still extremely thick and thin!  I had roughly 70yds, which I knit up exactly as the pattern called for.  The knitting I did over the course of a day, idly knitting off and on all day.  So, all the work of making this hat took about four days, but I did end up taking about a week off between spinning the yarn, and actually knitting it up.  

What you see in that picture is actually every last bit of yarn I spun up.  The hat is pretty much a beanie size for me, and super soft and comfy.  And sparkly.  So sparkly!  I'm a bit surprised that I didn't focus on the sparkly part this entire post.  ;o)  I will try to get a modeled shot soon!  

A few details:  fiber came in the form of a lightly processed batt (fibers were aligned, but I would probably guess they were only run through once, and the fibers were super sticky, like the lanolin hadn't been washed out completely, and had aged mildly).  The fiber content claims to have been a bit over 2oz of merino and angelina.  My coworker thinks it looks like Elsa, and I've decided that I like that.  :o)

Yarning around in Austin

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First off, teaching at Gauge was so much fun!  My students were lovely, and some friends dropped in to say "hello," which was so wonderful.  It was also neat to see what new yarns they had picked up.  ;op I picked up a few things while here.  

Gauge has a lovely selection of not only workhorse yarns (Berroco, Malabrigo, etc), but also some unique brands.  They are the exclusive store for an Austin local indie dyer called Little Green Finch who only does one of a kind skeins, and they're all so lovely!  In addition, I'd been hearing more and more about this company called Ito, and it appears that Gauge decided to pick them up!  It was my first time checking it out in person, and that was a lot of fun.  :o)  My haul from Gauge (left to right):  gradient dye cake done in various shades of pink on a sparkly base by Little Green Finch, a BFL/silk braid by NerdGirl in neon pink and green (couldn't resist!), and a sparkly white and gold yarn by Ito (planning on using it to ply with some handspun).  

While here, I did manage to stop into all three of the main LYS around here.  Gauge was my main LYS while I lived here, as it was the closest one to me.  However, since I've moved, another store called Me & Ewe popped up about two blocks from where I used to live!  Gah!  I had to stop in to see what I was missing.  

Me & Ewe is adorable.  So far, they seem to stock a lot of unique items.  She stocks a local indie dyer called Bronotta, local organic cottons, and some other fun finds.  However, she also stocks a decent amount of fabrics!  I ended up coming home with a little bit of one because it was kinda perfect.  :op  I'd definitely say it was well worth the time to go in, and the owner is so friendly!

Last on the list is Hill Country Weavers.  Hill Country is a very hot spot for knitters out here.  It has a lot of really nice yarns and is set up inside of a house.  Each room has different things, and it's so much fun to explore.  I can't believe that I got out of there with just one thing, but I have to say, only one thing truly caught my eye.  I think you will be able to tell why:  

Neon pastel rainbow!  8 oz of wool/silk!  The only unfortunate thing is that I don't know what kind of wool, as it just says "wool" on the label.  But, honestly, I couldn't pass up that colorway.  Such amazingness cannot be turned down.  

I also managed to get in a lot of good food (that I consistently forgot to take pictures of, for the most part... oops), and saw a bunch of my old friends.  The only sad thing is that I was hoping for some warm weather, and it looks like a cold front arrived right when I got in, and is heading out when I leave.  In the meantime, it got a bit warmer in Seattle, and is cooling back off when I get back in.  Of course.  ;o)  Ah well.  Can't win them all.  

Pattern Release, and Testing: Mayu!

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It took a bit longer than I was hoping to get Mayu fully formatted and everything, but Mayu is now ready and out!  Mayu has been fully tech edited, but I'd love a couple people testing it out for sizing purposes.  I'd love for people to be able to see what the different sizes fit like in different eases.  For that reason, I'm going to offer it out for free to testers for a limited amount of time.  You do have to contact me on Ravelry (rav id:  norichan) in order to qualify, and you have to be able to fit into my criteria for normal testing (it's not too difficult, but I do have a few qualifications).  :o)

Here are the pattern reqs:

Sizes:
Bust Circumference: 36 (39.75, 43.25, 47)” 91.5 (101, 110, 119.5) cm
Length: 22.75 (24, 25.25, 26.5)” 58 (61, 64, 67) cm

Gauge: 11 sts x 16 rows = 4” x 4” 10 cm x 10 cm, in st st, in the round on larger needles.

Materials: 
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Paloma Tweed (50% alpaca, 30% wool, 14% acrylic, 6% rayon; 71 yds/50 g) 
MC: 8 (9, 10, 11) skeins
CC: 3 (3, 3, 4) skeins

Needles: US 13 and 15 - 24” circular needle and DPNs. Or size to obtain gauge.

Notions: 
5 st markers (1 unique for beg of round m) 
cable needle
tapestry needle
scrap yarn (for holding sts)

As far as testing reqs go, you do need to be a member of Ravelry, have some projects on Ravelry with pictures, and be able to finish your project by the end of February.  I do ask for you to link your project to the Mayu project page, and post pictures of you (or whomever you prefer) modeling the sweater.  I would love it if you are able to say what your ease is, so that people have a good idea about how they might like to size their own Mayu!  I can't wait to see yours!  :oD  Please head here to sign up to test!  

Teaching at Gauge Knits

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I can't believe how quickly time has passed by this month!  In fact, I just realized that I need to prep for the classes that I will be teaching at Gauge Knits!  Gauge is one of my favorite LYS in Austin, Tx.  I used to frequent them quite often.  ;o)  Last year, in April, I did a class with them for Aviary, and it was a blast!  I am *so excited* to be getting to teach again this year; this year, it's not just one class, but two!  

I will be there Feb 6 and 7 (so close!!), and will be doing a project classes for Marika and Viola on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.  If you are local to Austin, I'd love to see you there!  Please learn more here.  

For the Marika Class, I will be talking a bit about my inspiration for the shawl, as well as help you get started on your shawl.  This lace panel is very simple, and this could easily be a first time lace project!  I will also teach you how to get a nice and clean edging on garter stitch.  :o)  This shawl, as mentioned before, is the perfect comfort knitting.  Ideal for this time of year, and I hope everyone enjoys making it along with me.  

For the Viola Class, there are a number of skills I can help you obtain.  While, I would encourage you to be comfortable with doing cables already, I can definitely help you learn how to do cables for the first time!  In addition, this is a charted pattern, and so if learning how to read charts is something you'd like to learn, that could be a fun, new technique, as well!  Lastly, I will be teaching how to make this hat by doing a cabled swatch done in the round.  This was definitely something that took me awhile to learn (heck, learning that swatching was important to do was a skill that took me a number of years), and so I can't wait to help everyone learn this skill.  This class is really filled with all the arsenals that you will need to take on this hat!  :o)

I'm excited to see familiar faces and new ones, too!  As always, I'm also super psyched about getting great food, and getting together with friends from my last home.  I'm betting for a good number of food related instagram posts in the not too far future.  ;op  

Pattern Releases: Marika and Lady Olivia!

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Aaaahh!  This week has been a wonderful week.  For one thing, I finally got a day off after working 14 days in a row at my day jobs.  I also managed to bust out the pair of bulky weight slippers in the below post.  ;o)  I'll write a final review of the pattern and how I like the slippers in a later post... but after all of that, I had not one, but two patterns release this week!!  :oD

Here is Marika!  A fun and simple shawl done for Quince and Co's Scarves, Etc 5 Collection.  :oD  A mixture of garter stitch, and simple lace; it combines some of the best things for comfort knitting.  It is done in Owl, an alpaca and wool blend, that compliments the pattern beautifully.  

The Owl was such a pleasure to work with.  It is a somewhat new yarn for me, and I can't seem to get enough of it.  I love how the alpaca adds some depth to the color, which adds to the rustic feel it has.  I actually can't wait until I can get my hands on some more and knit myself a Marika for myself to enjoy!

And here is Lady Olivia, the third pattern in my Twelfth Knits collection.  This textured knit was a well needed thing for me this winter.  My pair of Rivolettos were just not keeping my hands warm enough!  While great for the spring and early fall (or winter in Austin), they just couldn't cut it for the colder climate in the Pacific NW.  Lady Olivia is a long worsted weight mitt that goes higher on the thumb and fingers for some extra warmth!  I made the ribbing extra long so that it could be folded back in case a bit of extra dexterity is needed.  ;o)  

These mitts take about 170 yds of worsted weight yarn (Shepherd's Wool Worsted used for sample), and US 7 [4.5mm] DPNs.  

And now for some more pretty knitting pics!  (All pics of Marika were taken by the lovely and talented Pam Allen.)

Mindless Knitting

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As I finish up some designs of my own, the need to do some "mindless" knitting increases.  I think it's because the last part of designing involves math, formatting, and waiting to hear back from testers and tech editors.  The joy of working on projects where the math has already been worked out for me and I can just go with the flow is definitely appreciated at these moments.  While designing has its own joys, it is a job, and sometimes I just need a break.  :o)

The first project here is Stippers by Ashley Knowlton.  It's a bulky weight slipper pattern made with a fun construction.  They're super fast, and I think I'll be done with a pair of these guys by the end of the week, even just knitting idly on them.  They're perfect for recharging and feeling super accomplished!  And the StitchJones yarn is making me super happy!  So bright and fun.  This particular colorway is actually from one of her 2012 Yarnageddon shipments, so I don't believe it is a repeatable colorway.  I'd been holding onto it for something perfect, and I think these are definitely the thing!  

This second WIP is something that has been on hold since August 2014.  I said that I was going to get a move on with my UFOs, and this guy is the first of many.  :o)  Sadly, the pattern is not available.  It has an unusual construction, in that it begins with a provisional CO at the ankle, then you knit the foot, kitchener the toe, then undo the CO, and work the leg upwards.  I am not sure how I feel about it, but I am now done with one of the socks, and have CO for the second!  Can't wait till I can call this UFO, now WIP, a FO!!  

Kundert Love

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For Christmas, Marilyn got me a gorgeous Kundert spindle.  I love it, and it spins just beautifully.  I think it was just what I needed to get back into the spinning groove.  It's been a couple years since I've spun regularly, but I definitely think this was a well needed push back into it.  :o)  

I glanced through my stash and found a super ancient Abstract Fibers merino roving that I have had for... well, probably 8 years!  While merino fiber is not my favorite to spin, I decided to break into the bump anyways.  I mean, look at those colors!!  ;o)  It's a vibrant sunset that is a nice reminder of sunnier days.  It's been raining and very gray here, as of late, so this is just the pop of brightness that I needed.  

I have gotten good at spinning finely, but have noticed that it is so much harder to spin a bulky or even worsted weight yarn as consistently as a finer gauge yarn.  I decided to try spinning this fiber at a thicker gauge to practice.  I'm not as consistent as I'd like, but it's fun to keep trying. This will eventually be worked up as a 2 ply yarn, and I'm hoping for a worsted to aran weight once it's all said and done.  

I'm still not as consistent as I'd like to be, but then again, that's what handspun is for.  It's not meant to be perfect... which is something that can be hard to convince myself about, sometimes.  Hehe.  It is interesting, however, because once the yarn is all done and has had it's wash, I always love it, commonly because of the imperfections!  

One of my favorite things about spinning is how every person makes a different yarn out of the same fiber.  It was my favorite thing about fiber clubs (when I was a part of them), to see how differently everyone's yarns came out.  The lumpy, bumpy art yarns, navajo plied, 2-ply, 3-ply, etc... and at various skill levels, they all were (and still are, I just haven't been a part of a club to watch in awhile) amazing to see and equally beautiful.  

The only difficult part about spinning is that it's not as easy to do when little miss Izi decides that it's nap time in my lap.  :o/  Knitting is possible when there's a cat invading my space, but spinning becomes very limited like this.  Le sigh.  

I'm thinking of joining the 15 minutes of spinning club (not a real club, but I know a number of people who advocate this), and seeing if I can get through this 4 oz of merino in a reasonable amount of time!  

Testers: Mayu

Noriko HoComment

Hello!!  I am finally ready for another test phase!  I am almost done grading this pattern, and am sending it to my tech editor.  The testing phase will begin once I get the pattern back from her.  :o)  

Pertinent information:

Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Paloma Tweed; for the 39" bust 8 skeins of the white was used, and 3 of the tan.

Needles:  US 15 and 13 in 24" circulars and DPNs.  Or size to get gauge.

Gauge:  11sts x 16rows = 4" x 4"

Rough sizes predicted:  30" (33", 36", 39")[42", 45", 48"]  still grading, depends on feasibility of raglan shaping with these sizes.  I hope to be able to do all of these!

This is a top-down raglan style sweater that is roughly tunic, or just shy of tunic length.  I am wearing the 39" bust with about 2-3" of positive ease.  Even with the positive ease, there is some shaping to help keep the style flattering!  I, personally, wanted an oversized, comfy sweater, but I think this sweater would look great anywhere between -2 to +2 ease!  

I am looking for 1-2 testers per size.  The test will be run here!  :o)  Yarn substitutions are not a problem, as long as you can get gauge!  

2016 New Year's Resolutions

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I've never been huge on New Year's Resolutions, as I have never been great at keeping them.  However, last year, I made the decision to begin designing more wholeheartedly, and this time, it actually worked!  With that in mind, here are a few thoughts I have:

1.  I proved to myself last year that I could get at least six patterns published in one year (I had ten published in 2015!), and so why not continue that?  While I could tell myself I want ten published patterns again, I hate the idea of pressuring myself to the point where I could burn out.  I think six is a nice attainable number, giving me an extra month here or there for catching up, or taking a break, if it's needed.  :o)

2.  Knit for fun, again.  I love designing, and do find it fun, but it's a different type of fun.  There is a delight in knitting things that someone else has planned and just letting the pattern flow without second and triple guessing whether I did my math correctly or if that last row really, truly is as perfect as I initially thought it would look, etc.  Last year I did manage to get some fun knitting in (like Seeds into Flowers above) and some gift knitting, as well... but I would love to be sure to get it in every month.  

3.  Reclaim SO MANY needles and project bags.  I think I outnumber a good majority of knitters out there with number of UFOs.  I probably have at least 40 UFOs in that box seen below, and it's very likely that I have yet another dozen or so scattered around the apartment (and let's not count any of my three scrappy blankets nor designs currently in progress).  All of my UFOs can't possibly fit into even that ridiculously large IKEA container, and so I've decided that I'm definitely going to cull them down below 40.  That has to be possible, right?  ;o)  Luckily, this doubles with #2! 

4.  My last goal of the year is to reduce.  It appears that I continue to move into smaller and smaller spaces, and yet I continue to hold onto many things because they "seem useful" or are somewhat sentimental.  Example of somewhat sentimental:  a sweatshirt from my undergrad that would be fairly easily replaced, if I decided I wanted another, as I doubt UCLA is going to stop selling sweatshirts anytime soon.  

As you can see in that last pic of UFOs, there are still boxes that are unpacked.  This comes from simply not having the space to put everything.  I feel like I'm still not moved in, and yet I've been in Seattle for quite awhile.  While I know I'm never going to be a minimalist, it would be really nice to get rid of the unnecessary items and finalize the move-in.  ;op

Do any of you guys do New Year's Resolutions?  I'd love to hear about yours as well, if you do.  :o)  

2015 in Patterns

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This year was a big one for me.  This was the year I really decided to buckle down and get serious about designing patterns.  So, despite working full time and then later two part time jobs, I still found the time to design on the side.  Sometimes I was definitely overwhelmed with deadlines, responsibilities, and whatnot, but I can honestly say that I can't see it any other way now.  I love designing, and plan on continuing.  :o)

My last pattern had been Consummate V's, which is a free pattern I put out for my birthday in October 2013.  My New Year's resolution of 2014 was that I was going to put out at least 1 pattern a season (4 patterns total) over the course of 2014.  I figured it was a very minimal goal, with lots of room for growth.  When it hit around October 2014, and I hadn't put out a single pattern, I really sat down to think.  That's when I decided that I would get serious and have the same goal of at least 4 patterns, but hoping more for about 6 patterns to come out in 2015.  

While January came and went, February started me off with a bang!  That Fall when I was pondering how I'd let so much time slip by, I stumbled upon an all call from Quince and Co for their Scarves, Etc collection.  I was SO SURPRISED when they loved my Aviary pattern.  It was such an honor to be able to design with their yarns as my first pattern of 2015.  :oD

My next pattern was Rivoletto Mitts in March.  The idea for them came from years previous, when I had entered and won a mitts design contest with A Verb for Keeping Warm.  I never managed to write up that exact pattern, but I made a few minor changes to the basic pattern idea, and came up with Rivoletto.  I am actually even more pleased with Rivoletto than I was with the original mitts.  I suppose it was good to wait those additional years of experience!

In April came Candide, my simple hat pattern that maybe seems a bit more complex than it really is.  Knit out of one of my favorite yarns, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, and Cascade Heritage, Candide was a lot of fun to work up.  What was more rewarding was when one of my testers told me that her teenage daughter had commandeered her hat and requested more.  I think that is one of the best compliments I'd ever gotten!  

A surprise pattern came out in June with my Gehry Wrap, a pattern I did for Unique Sheep's yarn club.  While the 100% lace weight silk creates a gorgeous drape and a very elegant shawl, I can also see it in other fibers as well.  The rights have been given back to me, and now Gehry Shawl is now available for download in my pattern store on Ravelry.  :o)

In July came a pattern that is near and dear to my heart.  Paulette came out as a collaboration with Thoroughly Thwacked.  Her Vixen yarn was a dream to work with, and the final shawl came out even better than my initial sketches.  :oD  It was a fun experiment to work hand in hand with an indie dyer, and I can say for certain that there will be more designs with Thoroughly Thwacked yarns, as well as other indie dyers in the future!

Viola and Cesario came out in September as a set of hats that will become a part of my Twelfth Knits collection.  Over the next year I will be adding more patterns to the Twelfth Knits collection, I hope you enjoy seeing it grow.  As I tend to sometimes be a bit corny, I will say that I'm planning on having these pieces be mostly cabled work as I feel the cables symbolize the twisted roads that some of the characters' paths took them.  Yikes, maybe that was too corny, even for me!  ;o)  

My favorite month is October for many reasons:  birthday month, typically some of the best weather during the year, and this year was even more exciting with the publication of Around the Block Legwarmers in the darling collection Charmed:  Whimsical Knitted Accessories.  After seeing the full collection, I couldn't believe that I was included in this collection!  So many cute patterns in the booklet, and I still am waiting for some free time to knit up a few of them.  :o)

I talked with DragynKnyts about using some of her yarns to design with, as I have been loving her semi-solids.  Her variegates are also lovely, but there's something very special with the way her semi-solids come out.  I proposed the idea of Cunegonde, and she jumped on board with it.  This cowl is interesting because it comes in two sizes, and done in either PendragynDK or Wyvern worsted.  Due to the double sized skeins, even the longer cowl lengths can be done with a single skein.  This cowl is the second piece to my Candide Collection that, similar to the characters of Candide, will be comprised of patterns that look more complex than they truly are.

This month has been crazy busy with gift knitting and trying to get a ton of designs all together ready for testing.  Despite that, I couldn't get Hipstamatic out of my head.  I absolutely had to get this free pattern together and so I put everything on hold in order to get the samples together and the pattern written up.  In the end, I couldn't stop knitting them, and I have knit up four so far, and every time I see more chunky/bulky weight yarn I just want to knit up another.  My next one is definitely going to have a pompom!  :oD

My goal was 4-6 patterns, and I managed to get seven self published patterns and three more publications with Quince & Co, Unique Sheep, and Knit Picks!  I have some more big plans for 2016, and I will give a little hint:  2016 is going to be the year that I start dabbling into garments.  ;o)  Stay tuned for some test knits to happen soon...

Trip to Athens, GA

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For Christmas, I visited my boyfriend's family in Georgia.  While it was a good trip filled with fun and games, food, and so many dogs (there were four in one house!), I do have to say I discovered something that didn't exist when I lived there!  

Yep, a yarn store within walking distance of where I used to live!!!  I used to teach at Main Street Yarns, which has sadly been closed for a bit of time now... but Revival Yarns has stepped in, and I have to say that I quite liked this store.  

It is located in the Bottleworks, which is a very cool hang out spot just barely outside of downtown Athens.  Right next door is a very cool coffee shop, and a few other restaurants.  I used to walk over to Daily Co-op once a week, and I just can't imagine how much time I would have spent here, if it had been there just a block away from there!  

The two owners, Lindsay and Cara, were both amazingly sweet.  I felt welcomed at once, and their little sitting area was very comfortable to relax at.  There was also a small table to sit at for classes, and for the holidays a selection of cookies and other sweets were set out for us to treat ourselves with.

Their yarns included brands such as Cascade, Malabrigo, Madelinetosh, Sweet Georgia, and Lorna's Laces.  What I liked even more were the local touches, like the handmade buttons, project bags, and shawl pins.  

Of course, I was in shock over the fact that I managed to find Chubby Cloud bags here!  Chubby Cloud is a local sewer found here in Seattle!  What a coincidence.  :oD  It made me happy to see how big and small the knitting community really can be.  

In the end, I went with these two items.  An adorable Chubby Cloud bag (yes, yes, even though I have seen her at local show events), and this amazing Malabrigo Chunky.  I have never seen this colorway before... and I have to say, it's odd, but I used to hate sea-foam green, and now certain shades of it really calls to me now and again.  :o)  

I'm so glad that Athens now has a LYS to call it's own, and that it's such a lovely one!  

Blue Christmas

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I'm travelling for the holidays, and this year, I decided to bring a spinning project that I had from years back.  

These were two small samples I got from various places, and I decided to combine them to stretch out the yardage and weight I could get out of them.  :o)  I had roughly double the weight of lighter blue than the darker, so I decided to do a simple three ply with two strands of the lighter blue and one of the darker.  

I also spun them on the thin side to, again, stretch out the yardage.  I thought that the final product would end up being a fingering weight, but it is appearing that it is still a lace weight.  Of course, after it's bath, it may fluff up.  I'm actually hoping for it!  :o)

Here it is in a skein!!  Squee!  It's pre-bath still, and some areas I'm thinking might fluff up, but others seem like they'll still be lace weight after the bath.  I shall see in a bit.  

And here's the close up!  The color of the other picture is definitely closer, but this one does a good job of showing off the variation in the intensity of the darker blue.  :o) I, foolishly, left my niddy noddy home, and so I'll have to wait until I get back to measure my yardage.  

As it is, it looks like I'll be knitting for the rest of the Christmas traveling.  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!  :oD  

Pastel Galaxy Hair!

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So, first off, I'll apologize for the selfie only post.  But it was the only way of tracking this journey on my own.  :op  I wasn't certain until the night before, but I decided that I was going to jump on the galaxy hair trend, but wasn't loving the darker colors.  I wanted something brighter and cheerier!  I wondered how I would look and how the hair would look with pastel colors.

 Anyways, let's start with the before: 

This is what my periwinkle-grey hair faded to.  People were still complimenting me on it, but I was tired of the roots and the color was definitely getting old looking.  Not to mention the ends needing some refreshment, as well.  

Oh, but hey!  There's my Handspun Hipstamatic that I cranked out over this past weekend.  :o)  The modifications for the bulkier yarn are on the project page.  

Here goes nothing!  Bleach bleach... I had already told my stylist what I wanted, and she came up with a couple pictures that I thought would be amazing, if it turned out right.  :o)

All worries were appeased once I saw the dye on the hair.  I was soooo psyched already!  It looks amazing, even here.  :oD  

Post rinsing, cut, and dry.  LOVE IT!  I am not positive, but this might be my favorite hair color I've ever done!  Hard to say, but for the time being, I'm sticking with it.  If you missed it, here are some of the other colors I've ever been.  I'll have to do an update on this post one of these days to add in the periwinkle-grey and this one, as well.  :o)  

Hipstamatic

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Here's a new pattern for you guys!  It's been knit up in Madelinetosh Home, and it's perfect for quick knitting.  :o)  I was able to knit up the slouchy hat in just a single evening hanging out with my knit night peeps, and the beanie style is even quicker!  If you're needing some last minute gifts, this free pattern would be perfect!  

More details:

The hat is super simple, so a beginner knitter would be able to work up one of these, but it also makes great tv or social knitting for those more experienced knitters.  

Materials needed:  1 skein of Madelinetosh Home, US 11 - 16" circular needle and US 11 set of DPNs, stitch marker, and tapestry needle (for weaving in ends).  

The sample hats were knit up with the colorways Fluoro Rose (slouchy style) and Fog (beanie style).  The leftovers were enough to make up a color block beanie, as well!  (However, beware, as I did use up all the yarn!)

Download your free copy of Hipstamatic here!  Please post your versions on Ravelry here!  I can't wait to see them!  :oD

Download Hipstamatic.pdf

Styling Brights

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A while back, I posted a mini-interview with StitchJones and the amazing Neon Collaboration that Cory from Indie.Knits, Ariel of Stariel Knits, and I are doing.  All three of us were kids in the 90s, when neon was seen everywhere.  Anyone who was a kid in the 90s remembers Lisa Frank and all the bright dayglo clothing, accessories, and toys.  Well, neon has come back, and I couldn't be more thrilled.  :oD  

However, how does one wear neon without going overboard?  Is there an overboard?  From what we've discussed, we definitely have different ideas about this.  Here are a few of my thoughts.

Some people would probably say this outfit has too much brightness going on.  I think that this outfit works because the intensity of the two bright items differ, and the fact that they are contrasting colors allows this to work.  I actually love this combo so much, and bought these two items for the purpose of wearing together.  ;op

In this case, I felt that these bright red pants were so "in your face," that I decided I couldn't wear another bright on top, as well.  However, a statement top in neutral colors goes well, as it gives extra visual interest to go with the brights.  Another option, if you wanted to have less attention on the pants, would be to wear an oversized black, tan, or navy sweater.

This is the first outfit I'm showing that most people would likely feel more inclined to wear, if they were a bit more timid about wearing bright colors.  The outfit screamed 90s to me when I first saw these pieces in stores this year.  I couldn't not get them for nostalgia sake, and I love it.  However, the bright is toned down a ton with the jean skirt neutral, and the sweater (which is similar in color to the brighter tank, but definitely darker hued).  

A last great option, especially if you wanted to go as bright as visually possible, is to throw it on as an accessory!  A fun accessory is small enough to not overpower anything, but definitely adds visual interest and so, so cheerful!  

BTW, that hat is going live on this blog tomorrow.  Check back in, as it will be a free pattern that knits up super quick, so if you needed a few last minute gifts, you're in luck.  I started on this final sample (this is actually my third attempt to get it just right...) on Monday, and I have three samples done, already!  This sample was done with less than one skein of Madelinetosh Home in the colorway Fluoro Rose.  Two skeins were able to make one slouchy version, one beanie style, and one color blocked beanie style hat.  

Check out what Cory has to say about wearing brights here, and Ariel's thoughts here.  

Unicorn Tail Mitts

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I'm further along with many of those projects that you saw.  The hat has one model done in worsted weight done, but I need a second prototype done in DK now.  The sweater is further along, and the mitts have one completed mitt!  After weighing and re-weighing... I am feeling pretty certain that I'll have enough of the CC to get my second mitt, but I will finish up the second mitt before confirming this.  ;o)

This mitt has been a lot more of a challenge than one might think.  I actually have tried various renditions of these mitts no less than 10 separate times.  It makes me that much happier to finally have a first draft of a pattern that I'm actually proud of.  :o)  

While I'd love to whip out the second mitt, and then put this one forward in testing, I'm really trying to get the sweater done so that I can get moving on testing for that one.  This one is likely soon after.  :o)

Current Projects

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Man, it's gotten to be busy over here.  Lots of knitting happening right now.  I've got holiday knitting in full swing, and only about five designs in progress.  I'd love to get one of my tests started up Dec 1st, so it'd be dandy to wrap at least one of them up soon!!  Unfortunately, holiday knitting has taken over a bit, as I'm celebrating Christmas early with my family over Thanksgiving.  True to my nature... I'm leaving it till the very last minute, and I've still got to finish them up.  :o/  Wish me luck, I guess!!

Well, let's start with the projects that I can actually show you.  :o)  Here's a bulky weight sweater that I'm hoping to get tested mid to late Dec for release in late January.  The yarn is Paloma Tweed by Debbie Bliss, and I'm loving the drape and squish factor here!!  It's a cable plied yarn, so it's also very lightweight for a bulky.  It's warm but doesn't make me feel like I'm dragged down by how heavy it is.  

In actuality, I'm not done with this sample.  However, I still need to work out the DK version of this hat, so it's not quite ready for testing.  :o)  It is the matching hat to Cunegonde, of which I'm currently calling Maggie.

Last thing to show, this very moment, are some fingerless mitts done up with only 3 Unicorn Tails!  They can be done with any fingering weight minis, as well.  I'm excited to say that one mitt has been completed, and I am working on the second one, so hopefully, they will also be ready for testing in the semi near future.  :o)  

In addition to these guys, I've got two more designs on the needles right now... so now the question is, spread out the testing or do it all at once??  ;op  I think I'm more likely to spread them out, actually.  It is easier for me to keep track of changes if they're done one or two, max, at a time.  Please watch out for tests on my Ravelry Forum: Norichan Knits!  :o)  

Oh, and if you're interested... the other two designs I'm currently working on will both me fingerless mitts, as well.  One in a single color of fingering weight, and one in a single color of worsted weight.  :o)

Knit Fit!

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There was a small fiber festival this past weekend in Seattle called Knit Fit.  While there were some classes available, I did not partake.  Instead I perused the vendor hall.  There were a good number of amazing booths, and while I wish I could have supported everyone, my wallet did not agree with me.  :'o(  Even still, I feel like I got a lot of amazing things, and I'm very excited about it! 

Clockwise from top:  bright orange bag (Knit Fit bag that I won as a doorprize), green speckled yarn from Seattle Sky Dyeworks (worsted weight), purple needles are Signature DPNs in US 1.5 (my favorite size for my very first set of Signatures!), sunset colored roving is Targhee/Silk from Huckleberry Knits (this blend is a special blend that she asks the mill to make for her!), both the red ball and the cream colored skein are recycled cashmere, and lastly, the beauteous bag of minis from Three Fates Yarns (in my favorite color combo!!)!   Oh wait, how could I forget?

This gorgeous pendant was made by a local ceramics artist who also does buttons, yarn bowls, and other pieces of jewelry.  I fell in love with her work immediately.  I had about 5 of her pendants in my hands at one point, but in the end, this was the one that I narrowed it down to.  It makes me so happy, and I can see me getting some good use out of this necklace.  :o)

So, in the end, despite smaller than some fiber festivals, there were a ton of high quality vendors there, and I am actually relieved that it wasn't larger.  If it had been, I don't know what I would've done.  I already had to hold back on many many other gorgeous yarns, fibers, and other crafts!!