dyod*STUDIO

by Kerrie James

Blog

Easing Back In

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello! How have you been?

As you most likely know, I haven't been around for awhile now - just over a year in fact. Rest assured, I have not retired my DPNs nor have I ceased to be creative! In fact, it is in the gentle art of knitting that I have found solace this past year. New designs have been conceived and sketched but, as most of us know, time is often limited and I am not a speedy knitter. So, those sketches and drafts are added to my binders with the hope that one day, most likely in my retirement years and should I not suffer from stiffened joints, my growing number of sketches be realized to actual knitted items.


What knitting has been completed you ask? Mostly of the obligatory type, a hat for each child and two pair of mitts. The knitting is slow going and I don't expect to finish until Thanksgiving. When time permits, the re-working of some already knitted designs as well as further writing and editing is attempted. The pattern writing, which I use to complete within a week of blocking the knitted item, is now the longest process in designing - at least as of late. In the past year I have lost 3 - yes T-H-R-E-E - laptop computers; discouraging to say the least.


My online presence has diminished quite a bit over the year as well. I rarely use social media and truly have communicated via email only in these past months. Boy, could I use a few more hours a day! A part of me misses checking in on everyone through FaceBook and reading a few sentences on Twitter but I can admit, it is also nice to be free from that sort of time suck. Not that I am free of time sucks! FaceBook has been replaced with lots of reading and Twitter with headlines and bylines. I had forgotten how much I love academia, it is nice to be in the world of books again.


So there you have it, a little catching up and some promise of new design in somewhere down the road! The best way to keep up with me would be messaging and this blog. I will make a point to update once a month, I don't think I could commit to much more than that!


Stay busy, Be happy!


What I'm working on this month:

Knitting/Design: 4 hats, 2 pair mitts / creating charts

Crochet: pram blanket

Spinning: spindle spinning some silk hankies

Sewing: patching pants!

 

 



 

 

 


Don't Be A Bubble Head, Back It Up Baby

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (1)

February already!  It is an extremely cold and snowy day here in Germany, a perfect time to update my often neglected blog and website.


So, two weeks ago my husband had the boys for the day and I thought it would be a perfect Me day.  Take a soak, read, watch some television (something I rarely do!).  The idea of taking a long bath was too enticing and the thought of catching up on Downton Abbey while doing so seemed like a perfect combination, not to mention a time saver.  Our bathroom, literally, a room with a bathtub, shower and sink, is long.  On one end is the tub, the other is the shower.  Since I was to take a bath, I thought I would set up my laptop on the chair near the shower, that way I would not risk splashing my computer with bubbles or water.


Bath drawn. Check.

Towels near. Check.

Candles lit. Check.

Computer ready. Check.

Press play and soak!


I watched approximately 15 minutes when I decided the water could stand to be a bit hotter.  For some very strange reason, I pulled the plunger and turned on the water in one quick movement sending a spray of water directly onto my computer.  I jumped out of the tub, citing a few expletives, and flipped my computer upside down, hoping gravity would save me.  I then turned it off and again, flipped it upside down, grabbing the towel and drying off as much water as I could.  I thought I was safe... the water had only just touched the computer and I was quick to act.  I took the computer to my bed, placing it upside down and open a bit, looking somewhat like a teepee.  Then I realized I was naked, save for a few bubbles stuck to my skin, and dripping wet.  I grabbed a towel.


I brought my laptop downstairs to open the back, pull the battery and possibly the hard drive.  Damn, I could not find the appropriate tools!  In a situation where every second counts, I found myself growing frustrated.  After finally finding the right micro-tools, I pulled the items from my laptop, placing them all on the window sill near the heater.  Then I prayed to Steve Jobs that after a few days of drying out, all would be well.  Six days passed before I had the courage to reassemble my laptop and give it a try. 


Hard drive. Check.

Battery. Check.

Every tiny screw secure. Check.

Power button. Ummmm....  Power button! ... Nothing.


Perhaps overly optimistic, I did not get discouraged.  Realizing that the computer had not been charged for seven days, I thought I would simply plug, charge and try again. 


After one hour, it was plain that my beloved MacBook Pro (MBP) was dead. More trouble shooting and several Recovery program sessions later, my MBP was confirmed to be no longer working.


I have tried so very hard to stay positive and not be too upset but I keep thinking about All.The.Photos. in my MBP.  How I had been using my MBP almost exclusively for the past year and a half and though I had thought quite often of backing up my MBP to my nearly empty terabyte external hard drive, I never quite got around to it.  How I have been working on a book of 18 patterns for the past year and nearly Every.Single.Note. was in my MBP as I had resolved to use it instead of papers which I always lose and misplace.


So already February 2012 and I've already learned a valuable, if not painful, lesson.

Wordless Wednesday

Posted on November 16, 2011 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (1)


Minecrafter's Socks I




Minecrafter's Socks II




Minecrafter's Socks III





Quasi Mystery Tam II





Mystery Shawl by Pat Shaw




Hex by Cookie A




GCD




300 gr Wollmeise Lace

Focus Friday

Posted on September 16, 2011 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (1)

Once again, I had hoped to get more spinning wheel info out but I'd really like to take some better shots and so, will need to bribe employ the help of an older child.  So, no spinning wheel stuff this week, sorry.  Instead I have a review of sorts for you.


So in the knitting world, there are knitting needles and there are Knitting Needles.  Whether straights, double points or circulars, most, if not all, knitting needles are perfectly adequate in getting the job done.  Personal preferences may dictate whether a bamboo, wooden, metal or plastic needle is selected.  After which, the final choice to be made all comes down to the point. Sharp or blunt?  Some needle  brands do not offer this final choice as an option, but one does.  Signature Needle Arts makes Knitting Needles. 


I will be the first to admit, initially, I couldn't imagine what the hype was about.  I mean, really, how exceptional could a humble knitting needle be?  While debating whether or not to place a purchase, I had recalled my utter disappointment in Addi Turbo needles.


This was another needle I had heard so very much about, 'Addi Turbos are wonderful for knitting lace and socks and any knitter who enjoyed knitting lace or socks simply must invest in a set.'  Further commentary boasted that Addi Turbos were quick, sharp and had flexible cables.  I was sold.  At least, until I purchased that first pair. 


I did not find the tips of Addi Turbos to be any sharper than a Susan Bates or Boye needle.  As for being quick (slick), I admit the first few uses did seem slick but suddenly not.  In fact they felt a little gritty and had a horrible scent.  I was grateful to have only purchased a single pair and no more.  I will say however, the standard Addi circulars are nice to knit but have blunt tips.


Back to the Signature needles.  The price tag did not exactly make the decision to test drive these needles very easy.  Still, to use the excuse of a birthday gift did help soften the blow.  While going through the website to place my order, I was impressed at the options available.  While color choice is predisposed to size, length, needle tip style and, in the case of straights, cap, can all be selected by the purchaser.  I never thought shopping for knitting needles would be so fun!




For my first order I selected the most useful 2.50 mm DPN set with Stiletto tips.  I was very impressed to see not two but three needle tip choices: Blunt, Middi and Stiletto.  Once the order arrived, packaged in a sturdy plastic tube and in an organza pouch, I immediately cast on for a pair of socks.  The sharp points made knitting delightful (for me) and I found the needle shaft to be comfortable.  An additional incentive I had not previously considered, the bright color of the needle shaft proved helpful in identifying stitches.





Flash forward to this past Mother's Day when I purchased a circular needle.  I already knew what to expect in the shaft and tip but the cable truly intrigued me, in addition to the join.  These two issues are important when selecting a circular needle.  No one wants a terrible join to slow down progress and a flexible cable is a true must, especially for those who enjoy Magic Loop.  I have to let you know, the circulars are absolutely the best I've used to date.  The cable is soft and flexible, almost perfectly so.  And the best feature, as far as I'm concerned, is that the join is not only nice but also enables the cable to rotate freely!  Can you imagine that?  How often have you been frustrated by a kinked cable?


Over the past four years I have gifted myself one pair/set of needles for each birthday and this year, a circular needle for Mother's Day.  It must be fairly obvious how delighted I am with my Knitting Needles and I look forward to purchasing my sixth pair in ten days ;)  Do yourself a favor, make a Signature Needle Arts wishlist and send it to your loved ones!


x

Wordless Wednesday

Posted on September 14, 2011 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (1)

Lego Mini Figure Crayons, made at home.




One of Seven WIP baskets.



Abalone #5 knitted in KnitPicks Gloss.

Make It Monday

Posted on September 11, 2011 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (2)

I was not successful in getting a post out this past weekend but you know what they say about life and all.  I will be posting an addition to last week's Focus Friday, elaborating for wheel-type specific needs.  Until then, let's see what I have been up to this past week!


The weather last week had cooled down tremendously and I couldn't think of anything more appropriate for dinner than fresh made chicken soup.



The weather is also beckoning my fiber stash from it's plastic storage bins.  Thursday evening I spent a significant amount of time going through those fibers to decide which I would spin this season.  It was a toss up between red and black Cashmere/Merino and autumnal jewel toned (is that a thing?) Targhee.  Considering I had not yet spun Targhee, this batch of wool won out.



I then spent about 30 minutes fluffing and splitting the roving into manageable sections and finally, spinning one strip, just to get a feel for the fiber.  I find that it spins quite nicely and is also very soft and loft.  My test spin was worsted but I think I will spin another length woolen to see which I prefer.  And, in an effort to stop spinning aimlessly, I want to put some thought into what exactly I will do with the yarn once finished!


Having two Abalone samples to work, I had hoped to have both finished by today.  Instead, I have 1 3/4 finished.. not bad, really!  I am hoping to get the second shawl finished by Wednesday now, to include blocking, etc so that I have time to take photos and finally ship it all off to KnitPicks. Everything has gone off without a hitch save for one issue.  One skein was riddled with not only knots but also weak areas.  Most of these spots I had cut and spliced before or during knitting.  Wanting to see the bright side to everything, I thought I would use this opportunity to use several different splicing techniques.  At the time, I thought it was a great idea... you know what they say about hindsight.


Many of the joins are hardly, if at all, noticeable.  The only join that I could easily spot was the braided join but that was with my sense of touch only, I could not see the join whatsoever.  It was time to soak the shawl in preparation for blocking.  Into the water it went, soak, then lift and - 'No!' 


The weight of the water had helped along a broken end and stitches were falling fast.  I immediately and gingerly squeezed out as much water as I could and inspected the area.  It seemed the weak join was a spit splice, which usually is a great join but I suppose I had not felted that particular spot very well, or it was due to the silk content of the yarn.  It mattered not, I still had a hole in my wet shawl.  I ran to my project table and grabbed the few yards remaining of the project yarn, a darning needle and a crochet hook.  I worked the dropped stitches back up to their proper places and began to weave the dry yarn through the wet yarn.  I will not lie, it was a mess.


I decided that the best thing to do would be to continue blocking, hope for the best and address further issues once the shawl was dried - that and have a cup of tea and maybe even a cookie.  The next day, I adored the shawl, trying so hard to not look at the aforementioned spot but who was I kidding?  It looked horrible.  I tried as best I could to fix the spot but again, it seemed nothing could be done except to ignore it.  The strangest thing of all is that the spot causing all the issue is two rows below where the joined yarn was!  I can not for the life of me understand it.  Is it possible that over only two stitches my tension eased up considerably and then went back to normal?  Because that is what it looks like.  At first, from the right side, I thought the spot was the join and in need of tightening.  Try as I might, there seems to be nothing I can do.  It looks as though I won't be send *this* one off after all.


No Pics Just Yet


When I am not working on the two Abalone shawls, I have been working on my September Sock Down Challenge for the Sock Knitter's Annonymous group in Ravelry.  Last week I posted photos of the yarn I initially dyed for use in the Sacre du Printemps sock and, as you may recall, gauge was an issue.  I did manage to find a sport weight cashmere blended yarn in my stash and once again, took to the dye pot. 


I find it quite interesting how the same dye recipe resulted in two different tones.  The only differences I can think of are the differences in fiber content, the differences in twist and finally, I admit, I did (accidentally) add extra citric acid to the first dye job but I am not sure if this would have affected the color quite so much.  The first yarn is tightly twisted and compact while the second is light and lofty.  In any case, the second yarn is near perfect in gauge and is making quite the comfy sock.








And when I am not working on those projects, (of course, you do realize I mean in my free time), I have been continuing my studio/stash cull and also preparing for holiday knitting, to include a sweater for myself.  Yes, a sweater.  In cleaning the stash I realized how much sweater quantity yarns I have and depsite my desire to tone up a bit, I likely won't.  So I may as well accept this fact and go ahead and make a sweater.  Though to be honest, I am planning a 'comfy', yet light, tweed sweater to accommodate or flatter any shifts is body shape.


Sewing has been in the form of mending still... it seems that just when I think I'm finished, someone tosses a pair of pants in need of hemming or repair.  I hope this trend ends soon so I can finish my blocks and make a house shift.  Send positive, energy inducing vibes my way!


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Neglectful Me

Posted on December 13, 2010 at 11:12 AM Comments comments (6)

 

(Note:  This entry was started on Dec 13 and left after only a few sentences.  After much time, I've finished today,  May 18, 2011)

 

 


Haven't I been!?!  I haven't visited this site since 2 Nov!  Without delivering a variety of excuses and wherefores, I'll simply say that these past weeks months, if it isn't an absolute necessity, I haven't done it.

 

That is not to say knitting is no longer a part of my life.  In general, being creative is a necessity for me (and those around me).  Whether on paper, on fabric or canvas, in the skillet or on the needles, I need to express myself creatively.  Which takes to me the podcast and blog in general.

 

Not publishing at either venue has been necessary for me to center my life.  It took a string of mysterious illnesses to realize that the very activities I enjoy had become distractions to the life around me.  I still took care of my family and home (ok, the home not so much) but I found myself doing things for the sake of checking off a box on my ever growing list of things to do.  I realized all of this during an evening routine most mothers know; get kids washed, brushed and into bed, read small book or chapter and send them off to dreamland.  This time should be special and memorable for the kids and myself but I found myself on automated command when I realized I was reading a story as a robot ... only there was no such character in the book.  Now I do not mean that I was reading in a robot-like voice but that I was reading without presence.  Once I tucked the kids into bed I went downstairs and instead of throwing myself into knitting, as I had been for the past year, I packed up my WIP basket and watched some television with my husband.

 

I did not touch knitting needles, crochet hooks, spinning fibers or tools for almost an entire week.  I did however allow myself to design on paper.  While designing in one of my sketch books, I came across some old (like high school old) sketches.  I then went digging for some designs I had worked out for sewing almost 10 years ago.  Then I realized I had not painted, drawn or sewed for nearly 8 years, if not more.  Again, I thought of my family.  Of course, having a family does impede on ones whim to do as one pleases and perhaps this is what I had been distracting myself from.  I placed all my sketch books back into their storage boxes.

 

A few weeks more went by and I found myself feeling guilty anytime I picked up a needle or yarn... or even a pattern stitch book!  I was truly struggling with balance of my creative self and the family I am responsible for.  Of course, family wins nearly every time.  It was only this past week... that is more than 6 months later! ... that I feel I have found a balance.  And wondrously to myself, this did not include giving up my creativity but by adding to it!

 

Like many who are reading this, I love things to be organized... mise en place ... but keeping things (my things) that way seems to escape me after a period of time.  I find myself thinking, 'Oh I'll just leave this out, I'm going to work on it later.'  Of course later never comes as some sort of family schedule ripple has occurred and I can not get back to the project until the next day or so.  In the meantime, children happen... all over my office space.  They especially love the wool and shiny things.  And I can not tell you how many times a needles has found its way out of a project... including lace.

 

And so, after my recent epiphanies, I realize that I should be my creative self to the very depths of creativity I posses.  But to do so I must regulate my creative time and it shouldn't be every moment I am not care taking.  And most importantly, I have to be present in each moment... creative, family or otherwise.  All of this required organization, or rather, Organization.  And also, letting go.

 

And so, I've been going through Ev.Er.E.Thing.  I have started small, going through drawing and painting stuffs first.  Then I went through felting and dyeing stuffs.  Presently I am going through sewing and pattern making stuffs and then I will tackle crochet, spinning and knitting stuffs and finally epherma.  I have learned quite a lot so far, most importantly... I have a lot of stuff!  Once everything is gone through I plan to sell the items which are not loved and hopefully, purchase some more shelving and a sewing table.

 

So how am I honoring my creative self, being Mommy and remaining present?  Well firstly, I've gone back to an old trick... Egg Timers…  and time my activities, usually 20-30 minutes long and allow myself a break every hour.  An hour example would be my morning hour after the kids have gone to school:

- 10 minutes, unload dishwasher.

- 15 minutes, separate laundry, start load.

- 20 minutes, unload dryer, fold, put away.

- 15 minutes, make tea, prep dinner.

If I finished these tasks earlier, then my break is longer.  My break is when I choose something I enjoy to do: design of any type, knitting, drawing, graphics, sewing, etc.  I give myself at least 20 minutes and whatever I do within this time, must be put away.  I am still working on that last part ;-) 

 

This sort of scheduling is something I naturally resist but already, I see some great results.  I find myself to be in better spirits and looking forward to those breaks, which motivate me to get the humdrum tasks (laundry anyone?) done sooner!

 

And so, this blog and website will take a different direction.  I will no longer focus on knitting only but instead, all my creative outlets.  Truly, this is the premise of dyod*Studio.  When I first thought of one day owning and operating a Studio, it was to celebrate all arts.  Somehow, knitting became the primary focus and it has taken several years to come back full circle.  You can expect to see knitting, crochet, spinning, dyeing, graphics, photography, sewing for the home, garments and perhaps some metal smithing.  From time to time I will host prize giveaways, review items and books and get some tutorials and freebies up.  But make note!  I am working at my own version of a snails pace.

 

You can continue to get in touch with me at info [at] dyodstudio [dot] com regarding anything you please.  I will still pop into Facebook, Twitter and Ravelry from time to time.  I commit 3 days a week for correspondence and Social Networking... so please expect at least 3 and up to 5 days for a response.

As for designs:  I am working on a new site to showcase my designs of all types.  I am also working out a one-stop online shop.  For now, knitting patterns and other items can be purchased via Ravelry, BigCartel, ArtFire, Etsy and KnitPicks

Time for Neck Warmers

Posted on October 25, 2010 at 5:23 AM Comments comments (0)

These past few weeks, it has certainly been colder here in Germany.  Brrrrr!  And if you didn't know, I actually love this time of year. 


Of course, being a knitter, that may not be so surprising to learn.  But, it is more than the need for wool that causes my love of this time of year.  All the senses are in play, the colors of the turning leaves, the sound of crunching leaves, the scent of freshly baked apples, the taste of a good hot cuppa (with a little 'special sauce'!)... all these reasons make this my favorite time of year.


With that much inspiration, it isn't diffucult to create lovely, warm garments.  Of course, the added bonus of working in such magnificent bases, such as Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! and Malabrigo Rios are cause for further inspiration ;-)


A sneak peek of two more designs to be released:


Winter Abalone, from Birth of Venus Series, details coming soon.




Vitis Vinifera



I've been finding time when I can to get these patterns written, plus the hat pattern from last month and an updated version of the Owlings design, not to mention several other designs I am working on at the moment.  One thing is for sure, I'm busy!


A note to those who follow my sites:  You are among the first to know, I will be phasing out most sites, attempting to migrate the other blog into this one, keeping this as my sole site.  It will take awhile, I am sure, but I do want to apologize in advance, should this cause any confusion.


Until next time, Cheers!

Good Times in Backnang

Posted on September 22, 2010 at 2:34 AM Comments comments (2)

Happy Wednesday one and all! 


Does that seem a bit forced?  I must admit, it is.  Really, I just want to either (a) go back to bed or (b) knit all day.  So, I have to do as Beyonce and put on my happy face so I can muster up the energy to tackle my domestic duties.  Then, if I am lucky and if dear child number four can handle some independent time, I can design/write/knit. 


I am beginning to wonder where exactly I am going to find the time I require for designing and for my continuing education.  With relatively zero help, I do feel like a rat in a sinking ship.  But, this is not a post of self pitty - nigh!  Like all great women (and that would be nearly all women), I will find the time and rise to the challenge.


In other news...




Saturday was the 2nd German Raveler Meeting (GRM), which was a blast!  Like last year, the Burgerhaus was packed with vendors and Fiber Arts enthusiasts.  Immediately upon entering, I spotted two garment racks and a very large display table, chock full of knitted garments, which were entries to the Verena Knitting competition. 



Mostly sweaters, the handwork was impressive!  Colorwork, texture, art yarns, lace, beadwork, all worked into beautiful designs.  I certainly had a few favorites but my most favorite item was a shawl worked in a simple design but embellished with inset crocheted leaves, in bright fall colors.  Unfortunately my photo of this piece is not very good.



Just beyond the display table I spotted a gorgeous collection of skeins just begging to be touched (another poor photo).  Adjacent was a very large Yarn Pool. 




The Yarn Pool is a play on words.  Annette and Alexander, also known as Knittingcouple, asked us all to go stash diving.  Each skein in the Yarn Pool was donated by a Raveler so that a few lucky winners could do some stash diving of their own, in the Yarn Pool of course. 



Once I absorbed the hall, noting which vendors I'd like most to visit, I began searching for familiar faces.  Almost immediately I spotted Ulli and Andrea, who were chatting it up with Steffi van der Linden.  After finding a resting place, we got knitting and talking... though if you know me, I mostly talk and so, very little knitting was actually accomplished by yours truly. ^_^  Not too soon after, the Fabulous CaseyJones showed up, completeing my GRM experience. 


At one point, one must go shopping!  I am rather surprised at myself actually, I didn't buy nearly as much as I had anticipated.  Imagine, I actually thought of the Stash and how it needs to be knitted down!  I am not sure how I managed though, there were some gorgeous skeins of fiber.  My favorites were at Spinning Martha's booth.



All in all, we had a great time.  And, even though we must wait an entire year for the next GRM, I know I will be in the company of my friends again in the very near future.  That is what makes these meetings special of course, the knitting, too. >_^







Sneak Peek

Posted on September 16, 2010 at 6:03 AM Comments comments (4)

I don't always do what I ought.  A wonderful example would be that I had designated the month of September for working a sock design and a mitt design. 


The mitt design was simple enough, I have only a sample to knit.  The socks were swatched but I found myself disatisfied with the yarn.  I shopped online for hours to find a substitution, but still, could not seem to settle on a yarn. 


Enter distraction.


This is what I do when I feel things are not going as planned or, when I feel over taxed (so, like all the time).  I find ways of distracting myself from the very thing I want to accomplish.  In this case, I started knitting a hat.  It didn't exactly start out as a hat though. 


I began by practicing a forgotton cast on method, Channel Island.  I had remembered following instructions from Montse Stanley's Knitter's Handbook some 10 or so years ago, without success.  A few years later, I had tried once again and became very impressed with the stretch factor of this cast on, as well as how comfortable it is.  Having channeled my knitting powers to lace at the time, I had no use for this beautiful cast on.




Flash forward 8 years and here I sat at my desk, working a Channel Island cast on, distracting myself from the desings I was supposed to be working.  Before I knew it, I had enough stitches for a hat and so, I joined in the round and got creative. 



Of course, once I found my way towards the crown, I couldn't rip it out and had to keep going.



And now, since I feel I must write up this pattern while it is still fresh in my mind, I don't expect to get any closer to finding the best yarn for those socks.  Ah well, I'll save them for Socktober ;-)




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