Thursday, December 24, 2009

Weird, in a good way

I'm terrible, vain actually. Ever since the Winter 2009 issue of Knitty came out, I've been stalking the internet for comments about Pyroclastic. I can't help it--being published is really new to me. The best thing I've found: there is a geologist named C.C. Knitter who studied and wrote about pyroclastic flows!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I can hardly believe it. Pyroclastic is in the Winter 2009 issue of Knitty. I never thought I would be published in Knitty a year ago. I don't think I can ever express my gratitude to everyone who encouraged me though the past year. Thank you!!!!

Pyroclastic was born at Sock Summit 2009. I started by charting the repeat and began knitting it in a class with Cookie A. The yarn I was working with was pretty but completely obscured the design. Cookie walked around the class to see what everyone was doing and to answer questions. When she got to me, she asked "Are you sure about that yarn?" My initial reaction was these are only for me and I need to use this yarn from my stash, which I only said in my mind. So I rooted around in the bag of sock yarn I had with me and found something much more suitable--A Verb for Keeping Warm Creating in a color called Bolinas (Pictures were not taken of it because it didn't seem as if it would photograph well; it's really pretty in person.)

I was really busy for the rest of Sock Summit and didn't really get back to my sock until the ride home. I was lucky enough to be ride sharing with Kathleen (KatDee on Ravelry) and Michael aka Wonder Mike. Michael and Kathleen drove the first 2/3's of the way home while I sat in the backseat working out the pattern placement for the heel and instep fueled by Voodoo Donuts. This was a bit tricky because I knew I wanted to have a shaped arch, which has less give that a straight forward foot and instep. You see, the shaped arch biases the fabric so you need a few more stitches than usual to get it on your foot. I was doing all of this on the needles because I couldn't find my notebook and only had the sheet of paperI'd charted the pattern repeat on, which was pretty scribbled on at this point.

Once home I finished the prototype, wrote out the directions, and knit it again in Lorna's Laces Shepard. Meanwhile, Kristine was busy knitting it out of the Burnt Embers colorway of AVFKW Creating. When we finished knitting our respective socks, I set about formatting the pattern in Knitty's style.

Kristine and Adrienne went to our local cemetery to take photos. Kristine did a bang up job of photography. Adrienne was our foot model. We had so many photos to choose from, it was difficult to decide which to submit to Knitty.

A few days later, I submitted the whole package to Knitty. Then the wait began. I tried really hard not to think about it. Every once in awhile, Kristine would ask if I'd heard anything. I started new designs. In October, I received an email from Amy Singer saying my pattern had been excepted. I was in a state of disbelief for about two days.

After that, it was a push to write the pattern for a second size since I was asked for at least one other size. Yes, this meant more math! I had to think about how the sock could be knitting using something other than my beloved dpns. I had to rewrite the pattern without reference to specfic needles. In my mind, I knit these socks on two circs and using magic loop. I had imaginary stitch markers that had to be tracked. I got stuck more than a few times with visioning what happens on magic loop. But in the end, I worked it out with great advise from my technical editor.

Then I waited some more and now it's really here. It's been a great experience and I want to do it again!

Photos in this post are copyright Kristine Vejar.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Back to the notebook

Back to the notebook
My last idea failed miserably once I got to the instep. I still like the basic idea; just needed to figure out a different way of execute it. I think this time I've got it right. I am finding that the more time I spend designing, the more I learn. In the beginning, I wanted every idea to work out perfectly the first time. Of course, the design process doesn't work that way. I have a few failures tucked away in my sock drawer as a result.

Now I am much more comfortable with ripping out and starting over again. I just don't quit because it didn't work out perfectly the first time. I've learned to fail and be alright with it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A taste of something to come

New design in progress The last six weeks or so I've been occupied with something that's not ready to show you yet as well as catching up on all of the knitting that got neglected when I started getting ready for Sock Summit. So I have been knitting and spinning; it just hasn't been blog worthy. During this time, my creative juices got a chance to recharge and I recently started working on a pattern idea I've had for a few months. The yarn is A Verb for Keeping Warm Annapurna, a yummy cashmere and merino blend. The color reminds me of raspberry sorbet.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Errata for basic shaped arch sock

Row 12 of the turn heel instruction should read:

Sl1, P15, P2tog, P1, turn.

Row 14 of the turn heel instruction should read:

Sl1, P15, P2tog (18 sts remain).
Knit across these 18 sts so that ndl is in postion to pick up sts along the right side of the heel flap.

Friday, August 14, 2009

1300.3 miles later

Sock Summit. What can I say. I had a fabulous time.

Last Monday, my dining room table was covered in sock patterns and knitted samples. Not just any patterns or samples; my designs with my new logo on the patterns. When I was finished putting all of the patterns in their sleeves, I had an almost filled bankers box. I also had my fingers crossed that the patterns would be well received.

On Tuesday Wonder Mike, Kathleen, and I met Kristine and Adrienne at the Verb studio to help pack up the van with the entire Verb store. We were on the road by 10:00 a.m . Kristine and Adrienne in the van. Michael, Kathleen and me in my diesel Jetta. We stopped in Ashland for a few hours to take a break. Of course, we went to Websters. I bought more sock needles as if I was going some place where such a thing wouldn't exist. We walked along the creek while drinking iced Stumptown coffee. Then we got back on the road to our destination--Eugene.

The next morning Kathleen drove Kristine and me to Portland. We arrived with time to spare before we had to unpack the van and set up the booth. We checked into our hotel and then met the call for coffee. Near the Oregon Convention Center Starbucks has a monopoly. So we had Starbucks.

Within about 6 hours, we unpacked the van and set up Verb Portland. The booth was right inside the front doors of the marketplace, which was awesome. Kristine and Adrienne did a bang up job of planning the set up--we had maps and everything! Once we were done with the set up, we draped the booth and left it looking like this.

Thursday I took a full day class with Cookie A. on sock design. It was really interesting to hear Cookie talk about her design process. The class was a perfect compliment to her book. After a few false starts, I left with a new design that I'm really loving.

Immediately after class, I went to work in the booth. Where I met a lot of people and talked about my patterns. The highlight of the evening for me was meeting Amy Singer of Knitty. Amy encouraged me to submit a pattern to Knitty. It was so awesome that I wanted to cry!

Friday morning I took a class with Star Athena. Star's class was also on sock design. It verged perfectly into what I learned in Cookie's class. Star and Cookie have very different approaches to design. My approach is somewhere in between the two. Later that day I got a chance to chat with Star and discovered we went to the same university. Ten years apart, but still. Star is a fine artist. Her hand drawn charts are works of art. Mine are an absolute mess by comparison.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday's marketplace a more than a bit of a blur. I worked the booth and talked to a lot of wonderful people about Verb's yarn and fiber. I answered quite a few questions about my sock designs.

I released three new patterns at SS09. Kristine, which uses a new base of 70% superwash merino and 30% silk called Metamorphosis. Kristine is a combination of cables and eyelets and has a regular shaped foot. Caitlin's Lace Anklet, which is a simple lace anklet and perfect for commuter knitting. Oliver, which was originally designed for the Men's Knitting Retreat Spring 2009. The guys attending the Fall retreat will also receive a copy of this pattern.

I didn't buy much at SS09. Two sets of Signature Needle Arts 6-inch double pointed needles in sizes I use most often, a bag from Queen Bee Creations, clogs, a lotion bar from Ildanach Limited, and a wee bit of fiber from Knitifacts.

Monday Kathleen, Michael and I drove back to the bay area. It is good to be home and sleeping in my own bed. That said, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Thank you Harlot, Tina and the ST-1 and ST-2 teams!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Update on SS09 pattern give away

I've changed my mind about which pattern to give away at Sock Summit. Instead of the shaped arch sock, I will be giving away a choice between

Slipstream in two colors Slipstream or

Caitlin's lace anklet Caitlin's Lace Anklet.

Slipstream combines a lace panel and cables with a shaped arch. Caitlin's Lace is a simple allover lace pattern with an eye of the partridge heel. I will giving away up to 50 patterns total with the purchase of a skein of A Verb for Keeping Warm sock yarn.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Socks and more socks

I've no excuses for not posting since May. The beginning of summer has flown by because I've been occupied with a few things: new sock designs, sock knitting, working my regular job, working at A Verb For Keeping Warm, getting to know Kristine's friend, Babu better, seeking test and sample knitters, and having a pattern tech edited.

Oh yeah, and getting ready for that little thing known as Sock Summit '09. I will be attending two classes, both on sock design. I will be working the Verb booth as well. Right now, I am working with Adrienne on putting a professional polish on my patterns and getting them printed for SS09. I'm really nervous and excited at the same time.

Basic shaped arch sock I will giving away copies of the Basic Shaped Arch Sock pattern to the first 50 people who buy a skein of AVFKW sock yarn.

MKR 2009 Sock MKR 2009 Sock The Men's Knitting Retreat 2009 sock pattern will also be available for purchase as a show special. It will then disappear for a short while and become available for purchase (through Ravelry as a download or in hard copy from AVFKW) September 1, which coincides with the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat.

Here is preview of patterns in the works:

Caitlin's lace anklet detail This is called Caitlin's Lace Anklet. I knit this up using some sock yarn I dyed last year after taking a dyeing workshop with Scout.

Kristine-detail Meet Kristine; knit out of a wonderful 70% merino 30% silk blend in a color called Patina. This is one of newest AVFKW yarns and it is yummy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Today was a sad day in California. The state Supreme Court upheld Prop 8. The initiative process is broken. It's time to call for a Constitutional Congress and rewrite the state Constitution so that the majority cannot terminate the rights of minorities.

Looking at roses cheers me somewhat.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Secret project

One of my secret projects. The yarn is A Verb for Keeping Warm Creating in Supernova. The cute stitch marker is from Girl on the Rocks.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

I've been busy! Working on two new secret sock patterns: one for men, especially for the Men's Knitting Retreats of 2009, and the other I can't talk about at all. I've also been working at my "real" job and at the Verb store.

The men's sock is finished and printed. Michael (aka Wonder Mike) agreed to be the model for the men's sock. The other is written and needs to be test knitted, which Kristine graciously agreed to do. Both use A Verb for Keeping Warm yarn.

Michael and I went down to Bobbin's Nest for Cookie A.'s book signing in mid-April. It was a lot of fun. Some sock knitting got done. I saw old friends and made new ones.

My daughter and I took our Holland Lop bunny, Moon, to the Oakland Animal Shelter to meet a potential new friend. Our beloved Lars died on Christmas Day and Moon has been lonely ever since. Moon participated in bunny speed dating and found a new love. His name is Murray. He is a white and brown English Spot. Of course, I have pictures; I just don't have them on this computer--I know bad blogging.

This morning on my way to work I was struck by inspiration. I have another new sock pattern idea. If it works, I'll be sharing it soon!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ella's Tea Socks

Ella's Tea Socks

The pattern is now available on Ravelry. The sample is on display at A Verb For Keeping Warm--The Workshop. I love, love this yarn and the color--Thai Iced Tea. It's orange but it's not. What I mean is that it's not screaming Halloween orange. It's earthier.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Stitches West

This year I worked the A Verb for Keeping Warm booth on Saturday and Sunday. It was so wonderful meeting everyone who stopped into the booth. It was especially thrilling to talk to people about my sock patterns. I still can't believe that knitters like them.

What else can I say about Stitches. It is very different to experience this show working a booth compared to being just an attendee. I meet other vendors and designers, which won't have happened if I had been only an attendee. I saw a lot of people whom I only know about because of Ravelry. It is so nice to put not only a face but a real person to a familiar name.

Watching Kristine grow Verb for the past year has been so much fun and to be a part of it has been incredible. If not for Kristine, Adrienne and Kathleen, I won't have ever put one of my sock designs out there in the world. So thank you to the three of you for pushing me in one of the most exciting directions ever!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A new sock

I've been seriously bitten by the sock designing bug. Here is what I am currently cooking up:

Ella's Tea Sock

I'm naming it Ella's Tea Socks. This is to honor both the colorway of the yarn and the person who came up with the colorway name. It is knit out of A Verb for Keeping Warm Creating: SW Merino yarn. The colorway is "Thai Iced Tea," which is a semi-solid color. I'm almost finished with the first sock, which I'm knitting to fit Kristine. Once the pattern has been test knitted from the written and charted pattern, it will be available for sale at A Verb for Keeping Warm as well as here and Ravelry.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Introducing Slipstream

Since the election, I've been busy. It all started with a conversation I had with Kristine about a sock I was knitting out of some handspun Pigeonroof Studio superwash merino. She wondered if I could use the basic shaping of the arch and put a pattern in it. I took her up on the challenge.

This is the sock that Kristine originally saw.

Shaped arch socks

This is the challenge sock. It is called Slipstream.

Slipstream Socks

Slipstream Socks

Both patterns are for sale at A Verb for Keeping Warm's studio in Berkeley. And, until I figure out linking for so you can download the patterns directly, if you would like to purchase a PDF copy, shoot me an e-mail at unravelingmarloweATyahooDOTcom letting me know which pattern you are interested in and I will send you an e-mail telling you how to pay me via Paypal and email you a copy of the pattern.