Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year of Knitting-and another free pattern

We've been snowed in here since Christmas Day.  It is the most snow I have seen since I was my kids age--12 to 14 inches.  Thank goodness it happened over our holiday.  Being a teacher, I love snow days, but grumble when we have to make them up because it always takes those wonderful teacher workdays away.  We still have one to make up in February due to a recent snow day. So now on to the year in review--Knitwise.

January--After teaching a beginning Knitting class at the local library, I decided to start a monthly Knit and crochet group.  I moderated and am the only man present.

February--Continued to knit and prepared for 10th Anniversary trip

March-  Compiling supplies for Anniversary Trip

On the Hotel Balcony at Chincoteague Island
April-  Attended Soxperience on Chincoteague Island for my 10th wedding Anniversary.   I had a great weekend learning new techniques and was the only man attending the workshop.

May-  I find out there are Men's Knitting Retreats held in various regions of the US and World.  I begin to read about these, most importantly the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat, just outside of Seattle, Washington.

June- Went to Tennessee to visit my Grandmother.  She had a great visit with my children and I took my Mom to Hobby Lobby for the first time.  She was hooked.

July- I find out that XRX, inc.  is sponsoring a scholarship for one person to attend the Seattle, Men's Fall Knitting Retreat (MFKR).  It just takes a nomination from yourself or someone who would like to see you attend.  My wonderful wife nominates me for the scholarship.

Cap I made with Birthday yarn
August-  I go to Knit Wits in Virginia Beach for the first time on my birthday.  I love it.  I get some great birthday yarn, orange of course.   Later that week I find out that I have won the MFKR Scholarship.  I am in knit heaven.

Enjoying knit time at the Retreat
September-  I attend the MFKR and fly cross country to Seattle, the first time I have ever flown alone. I have a wonderful time and find out about a design opportunity.  I come home and work feverishly to design a pattern to be published.

Swatches, drawings, and  design letter

Swatch of Stitch Pattern
October-  I find out that my design is accepted and pending completion (and shipping) by December 10th will be published.  I begin work on the pattern.

November- I work the whole month on my design.  My brother tries on the cap and it looks as if it was made for him.  I must design a cap for him (in black he requests).  I also worked my first bazaar and I feel like it was successful as I sold all my scarves, a girl's and doll's poncho set, and made a few contacts. The knit and crochet group donate a total of 9 afghans to our local Social Services.
My brother's cap that I designed for him.

December-  Pattern and Display pieces completed and mailed to Seattle.  I cried when I sealed the box, two months worth of work is hard to part with.  They look amazing and the company loves the work.

I continue to design, my second piece is in my last entry and the third is coming after this ramble.  What an amazing year!  I am hoping that the next year will bring more designs, work, and knitting.
And now for the pattern.  I created this for the Random Acts of Kindness Forum on Ravelry.  I wanted the recipient to have something original and from a yarn I truly love.  And it is a perfect one evening knit you can enjoy daily during this season.  Click on the title for the Google Document version.

Bulky Weight Yarn (I used Fat Sheep by Farmhouse Yarns  50% wool, 50% mohair)
Size 10 long circular needles or DPNs
Coffee Cup or tumbler for blocking

Gauge:  3.5 purl stitches to an inch (approximately 12 stitches to 4 inches in pattern

Stitch Pattern   "Mock Cable Rib"
Rnds 1, 2, & 4:  *P5, k3*
Rnd 3:  *P5, sl1, k2, YO, psso the k2 & YO*

P- purl          sl- slip                     psso- pass slipped stich over
k- knit          YO- Yarn over

Cast on 32 stitches and join for working in the round being careful not to twist the cast on stitches.

Work in Pattern for a total of 3 repeats (12 rows).  

Bind off loosely.  I love to use Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn bind off for these projects, because it makes a stretchy top for a variety of sized cups.  

Copyright December 2010, Small Town Knit Guy Designs.   For personal use only.
Please request permission before copying or making items to sell.

Wet block over a tumbler to get the coffee cozy shape (a little bigger at the top than at the bottom).

Have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just in time for the Holiday--Free Cowl Pattern

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa.  Last Monday I Priority Mailed my knitted Men's Reversible Ensemble (beanie, fingerless mitts, and scarf) to Skacel for their approval.  By Friday I was on pins and needles because I had not heard from them.  I emailed them from my mother's house and got an immediate response.  The pieces and pattern had arrived and to quote the email, "They look GREAT!"  I was so happy that I nearly cried.  I worried all week, because as many of you know as knitters, crocheters, or crafters in general, you can always find something wrong with your work.  I was extremely proud of my first ever design and publishing contract and prayed all week for it to arrive safely and for the powers that be at Skacel Collection, Inc. to like what I had created.  And they did.  Praise God!  So, In honor of my first pattern being published, I decided to knit up a quick and easy cowl.  I also decided to post the pattern here for free as I want to share it with my readers and others looking for free patterns.  My hope is that you like it, will try it, and tell me what you think (especially if you find a mistake so I can correct it).  It is quite warm, as the weather has turned very cold here in NC (colder than I can remember it getting this early in the winter).  The yarn I used is discontinued, however you should be able to find a great substitute at your LYS or Big Box store.  Ravelry calls it super bulky, however I found it to be more of the bulky/chunky variety.  I really enjoyed working with it and wish I had more, but, alas, it is discontinued.   The yarn color inspired the name (looks like candy) and stitch pattern (reminds me of steam rising from a warm drink).   It knits up quickly (I finished mine over a weekend).  My wife is modeling the cowl in these pics.   The pattern is written below or can be found as a Google Document here:  Peppermint Hot CoCowl

Peppermint Hot CoCowl
by Rusty Boyd, 
Small Town Knit Guy 

Warm ribbing in a wavy pattern!
Difficulty level:  EASY!
Dimensions:  Approximately 7.5 inches wide x 11 inches in length 

Materials:  2 balls OnLine Linie 146 Montana in the Ruby Fire  colorway (01) (my wife is modeling) 
1 skein Loops and Threads Charisma  (my daughter is modeling)
 (or bulky (#5) yarn of your choice that gives you the approximate gauge)
                  size 11 DPN or long circular for magic loop 
                         (or size that gives you approximate gauge)
                  cable needle
                  tapestry needle
                  stitch marker

Gauge:  Not entirely important but -- approximately 3.5 stitches and 3 rows per inch (pre-blocking)

               CN-Cable Needle

Stitch Pattern:  Wavy Rib (from Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary 1030 Stitches and Patterns)                     modified for working in the round    multiple of 6
         Rounds 1-6:  *P4, k2*
         Round 7: *P2, sl 2 to cn and hold to back of work, k2, p2 from cn
         Rounds 8-12: *P2, k2, p2*
         Round 13:  *Sl 2 to cn and hold to back of work, k2, p2 from cn, p2*
         Rounds 14-18: *K2, p4*
         Round 19: *sl last 2 p st from previous round to cn and hold in back of work, K2, p2 from cn, p2,
                             sl 2 st to cn and hold in back of work, k2, p2 from cn, p2
         Rounds 20-24:  repeat rounds 14-18
         Round 25:  repeat round 19

Cast on  60 stitches. Place stitch marker to mark beginning of round.  Join to work in the round.  Work pattern stitches through round 25.  Repeat rounds 20-25 to desired length (height).   To bind off I used Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn Bind off.  (Click for link to Knitty.)   It gives a stretchy bind off which will be helpful when pulling this over your head.  Use tapestry needle to weave in ends.  Blocking I feel is unnecessary with this type of accessory, but you can if you like.

copyright 2010
Rusty Boyd
Small Town Knit Guy 
For personal use only,  Please ask permission before duplicating, or making items to sell.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Does this sound like Small Town life?

Last Thursday I took a day off from work for a Knit-a-thon on my pattern that is being published.   I worked all day long (4 am to 5pm).  I did take about an hour off to get lunch and prepare for my knit group party.  We had a small group that evening, but ate, knitted, exchanged gifts, and had a great time.  Friday was back to work (2nd grade Math teacher that I am),  lesson plans written, grades recorded, progress reports printed, papers graded, and lessons taught.  We rushed home to a quick dinner and then off to ring hand bells at the town's annual tree lighting.  It lasted over an hour.  Saturday morning brought a very chilly day for the Murfreesboro Christmas parade.  It was great to watch my children enjoy the parade.  My daughter attended an all day birthday party and I knitted and wrote on my pattern while she was gone.  Sunday morning brought a rush to be to church early as my wife and I had to play hand bells once again.  Between church and the annual Christmas at Chowan University Concert, I finished writing (I should say typing my pattern as it was written in my Knitting Knotebook  as I knitted it up) my pattern.   The concert was great and I am glad that I did not skip it.  After the concert it was off to the drugstore as my wife and I are feeling under the weather.  When I returned I printed the pattern, boxed everything up and sealed it.  Needless to say, I cried.  Over 2 months of work went into this and I have to send it cross country.  I have a lot of time invested in it, and separation anxiety, I guess.   I will feel better when I see it in print.  I wish I could share all the pics I took this weekend but I have to wait until I have a publishing date.  This week brings two more concerts:  Community Christmas concert and the NC Symphony on Wednesday.  Friday we begin to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family.   Oh, for those of you who read regularly, the Bazaar was a success.  I sold all my scarves and several other items as well.  In honor of my first pattern being published I will be working up a surprise free pattern to post here as a Christmas gift for my followers.  It will be a knit pattern and quick to work up.   Look for it over the next few weeks.