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Introducing Fabricolage

Hi Guys! I wanted to make an official announcement that I am moving to a new blogging home. There are several reasons for this change. As I’ve thought about my long-term goals for my career in fiber, I realized that my passion has expanded to include more than the original thrust of this blog, which was for knitting. I’m on the road to becoming a fiber artist, but knitting, crocheting and designing are still my home base. My free pattern links will now direct you to Fabricolage, but the same patterns will be there to greet you.

My new site, Fabricolage is an umbrella concept to grow with me as I gain traction in the amazing, glorious fiber universe! I hope you’ll come with me!

Love,
Sara Kay

Yo-Yo Gets a Makeover!

Oh, hi!  How long have you been sitting there? Me? I’ve been swatching, sketching, procrastinating on designs, learning to wet-felt, making hummus and many kinds of cottage cheese pancakes, yarn-hunting, listening to audiobook murder mysteries, just the usual.  Anyway, here’s what’s up.

I’m pleased to announce that Yo-Yo is now available for $4.99 through the Knit Picks website and ravelry!  This pattern has been re-worked using Knit Picks’ Swish Worsted yarn. I’ve added 5 sizes for a total of 7 sizes from Preemie to Large Adult (12″ – 24″).

"Pardon me, Miss, but may I ask where you got that snazzy hat?"

I’m very excited about the expansion of this design! I received lots of positive feedback (thanks, guys!) after its initial offering, but found that crocheters wished they had sizes for babies and kids, too. I chose Swish Worsted because of the amazing color combos available and also because of the yarn’s easy care (machine-washable, etc.) for those adorable babies who want to throw their charming new hat straight into the mud.

Since the new pattern calls for a basic 10-ply worsted wool, I think it will be beneficial to those crocheters who are trying to use up the stash — something we all are supposed to be working on, right?  After all, as an inveterate Michaels/A.C. Moore/Hobby Lobby/Whatever Craft Store is Closest yarn junkie, I appreciate the simplicity of working with a standard worsted weight for my favorite patterns.

She turned slowly toward the sunlight with a tree growing from her head...

So check it out on Ravelry too, and let me know what you think!

The 2011 List. These Are Not Resolutions.

I’m making a list of the things I’d like to do this year.  One of the beneficial life skills I learned in corporate America is how to tame that creature called SMART goals.  To really get things done you should form goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Blegh, I know–at least you didn’t have to sit through a workshop on it.

Examples of STUPID goals: be better, achieve stuff, lose weight, sell more, buy less, etc.  Those are vague desires fueled by feelings, rather than goals.  Don’t feel STUPID if you’ve ever made a goal of this kind, just look at it from the SMART perspective, and it’ll help you see why you might not have achieved your goal.

That said, this is a lighthearted list of things I want to accomplish this year.  Nothing deathly serious.

1. Turn 27. I’m considering the purchase of an eye cream, but recently heard that anti-wrinkle potions are really a bunch of hokum. Thoughts?  I  have recently begun to spend more time peering in the mirror wondering if the lines around my eyes are more or less advanced than everyone else my age.

2. Go to a Phillies Game. This is pretty straightforward.  My husband has never been to a major league baseball game and it’s been a LONG time for me too.

3. Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art…again, and get through the entire thing this time, especially Costume & Textiles!

4. Run a 5K. Zumba-Zumba-Zumba-ZOW!

5. Design 2 New Patterns. Submit 1 needlecraft pattern to a print magazine and 1 to an e-zine.

6. Blog 24 times. Craft and write. Write and craft. 2 posts per month.

7. Read 12 books with my book club.

January – A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

February –

March –

April –

May –

June –

July –

August –

September –

October –

November –

December –

8. Study to improve my pattern-grading skills and use a grading tutorial on a new pattern from start-to-finish. Who knew that when I said, “I’ll never use this?” about maths, I was so wrong?  I’m just grateful that knit and crochet design doesn’t require anything to do with my arch-nemesis: molar mass, which always sounded like heavy teeth to me. Massy molars?

9. Grow out my natural hair color. I want to save money, strike a blow in the battle for peace with my natural self, and have thicker, less brittle hair that I can blissfully damage with a body perm if I so choose. I plan to get more regular cuts instead of saving up for color.

10. Knit socks to completion. This is a hard one. I have been known to knit one sock, feel the heady glow of creating such a useful thing and wear…one sock.  I will use the 2-at-a-time method to knit a real pair of socks.

11. Make my own Christmas cards. I’m thinking cross-stitched or embellished with embroidery.  Maybe I should start now.

12. List my merch on Etsy. I have quite a few things I’ve made that I’d like to give a chance on etsy.  Just need to set aside time to work on that.

13. Learn to work woven crochet. Plaids! Need I say more?

14. Learn to work fair isle. I would like to make a small fair isle project, like a glorious tam! I’m very keen on the technique where you take a variegated or hand-painted yarn and fair isle it with a solid color to make those watercolor kind of designs.

15. Write a blog tutorial. Topic undecided.

16. Sew a garment from a pattern. Sew a wearable garment from a pattern.

17. Balance my blood sugar. I’m working on managing my hypoglycemia by eating fewer refined sugars/flours and simple sugars and by eating proteins and whole grains more frequently throughout the day.  The only problem with this bullet goal is that it is so ongoing, I don’t think I can ever check it off the list. Hmm. Not SMART.

18. Visit the Jersey Shore and see if I (we) get sand kicked in my (our) face(s).

19. Read before bed. I was going to say “watch less t.v.” but I realized that I don’t truly know how much t.v. I watch, but I know that I will not be doing a scientific analysis of my time expenditure. Besides, I want this list to be positively oriented, rather than “uhh, stop eating all junk foods, stop being lazy and cook/clean/work out” – those are only discouraging.

I will be adding and crossing things off throughout the year, but this seems like a good start. What do you want to do this year?

Lacy Cuffs ~ A Free Pattern

Lacy Cuffs are here now.

Because I Needed A New Obsession.

Happy New Year!  Since it’s the start of 2011, I thought I’d use my Christmas gift card to Michaels to indulge a new needlecraft hobby, mwa ha ha.  Enter embroidery!  Here is my Sloppy Sampler, something that took me 2 evenings to “complete” and of which I am pleased as punch!  Really.

The Sloppy Sampler

Feast your eyes, folks!

The possibilities that come to my imagination as I think of all the things I can adorn with darling little pictures, words, quotations and shapes are endless, aren’t they?  I think my favorite application is going to be making little pictures and words to stick inside the windows of cards or directly onto cardstock, like this:

Teapot Cross Stitch Card

Tea Pot Cross Stitch Card by Alex Broadbent

I am an avid lover of quotations, pithy sayings, movie lines and song lyrics, so I have some plots and plans for framed cross-stitch pieces as well.  Some of them must be kept secret at this point, however.  I enjoy subversive cross stitch and would like to frame my quotes similarly, but mostly without f-words.

Then I thought, well now that I’ve gotten going with my sloppy sampler, I should try some of those pesky embroidery stitches that I couldn’t manage to work the first time!  So I popped over to Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching website and practiced all the stitch instructions she graciously offers.  I was so happy about the french knot (it’s so cute!)…

Sacré Bleu, c'est adorable!

"Mais oui, je peux faire le French Knot!"

…that I seized a scrap of felted knitting and the first wool handy and tried out some super-duper french knots– triples, quadruples, sextets! Also some back-stitches and chain stitches for good measure.

some little barnacles on a....leaf?

Not-so-charming color combo, but still fun!

And lastly, I tried out the process of following a little chart, and it was pretty easy.  I got The Big Book of Cross-Stitch Design at the library and it has some cute designs, but I found that I was getting very stressed about making a mistake due to the slightly bossy tone of instruction.  I find that perfectionism can really take the joy out of learning something new or embarking on a new craftivity, so nuts to that!  That’s why I decided to just have fun with my sloppy sampler.

When I first began knitting in 2008, I had to make a deal with myself that I would not get caught up in how perfect or knot perfect (I could knot resist that, whoa, it just happened again!) the work is, but to be patient, be a learner and above all, don’t say I CAN’T DO THIS!

Keep on stitching! I leave you with this.

SweetHeart

*love*

I didn't sign up for this! Oh wait–yes. Yes, I did. (Wrimo, what else?)

How’s it going with everyone on Day 2 (is it still only November 2nd!?)? I’ve done 3 sessions (starting at 12:06 am on November 1st and writing again the following “day”) and have 5,000+ words and have been on kind of a high until today, when my story got totally out of control! My characters changed from being 12 years old to being 21! The old-fashioned storybook tone I had been trying to cultivate (Complete With Accents) gave way to bratty teen whining! What is going on!?

There are things to love, though.  I’m thrilled with the way that charging full force into this challenge is helping me produce something other than little story ideas that exist nowhere but between my own ears, but I can’t keep order and it’s getting messy.

I guess this is where I am supposed to let go and take comfort in the fact that it’s really only about getting the word count.  Everything else can be fixed.  But you have to produce something to fix into your Real Story later.  BREATHE. Anyone else?

On the Hook, On the Needles, Wrimo & General Goings-On

Well! I’ve been having one of those periods of time where I’ve been doing a lot of needlework, but don’t have a lot of things to show for it!  I’m working up a lovely little crocheted version of Miss Sadie that I’m looking forward to sharing, and also gearing up for NaNoWriMo which is starting on Monday!

If there are any Wrimos out there who can offer me advice, I’d like to hear it.  If one expects to work steadily at it, the quota is about 1666 words per day for 30 days.  I don’t plan to be legalistic about a daily word count. Perhaps a weekly word count of *gulp* 12,500!

Deep breaths.

Also working on developing the pattern for the delightful furrow hat, pictured below.  I love this ribbing, so neat and tidy. I’m still playing with options for the crown decreases.  This first idea doesn’t look as organic as I thought it would.

the tight ribbing reminds me of earthy furrows

Furrow Cap

a little bit of the first crown decrease technique

Have recently become semi-obsessed with refining my technique for working seamless raglan crocheted sweaters in the round from the top down.  Goodness, that’s a mouthful, but it expresses all the elements that I’m going for.  I love top-down raglan knitting and have been working to bring it seamlessly (hah.) into crochet since I’ve noticed a dearth of available patterns on ravelry.

Working crochet in rounds creates a bias in the fabric that totally undermined my first design idea which featured a lacy front panel. By the time I had worked the entire body, the panel was fully skewed from one side to the other.  It’s funny how sometimes we crafters can stubbornly persevere thinking “surely this will work out! it’s not as bad as it seems right now–just a few more rounds.” And the old stand-by, “nothing a firm blocking won’t take care of!” Sigh.  I learn slowly.

Abandoned lace panel idea and am now working to figure a good formula for Top Down Raglan Crochet Sweaters.

Top Down Raglan Crochet WIP

I am enjoying the world of pattern sales!  Yo-Yo has been something a hit and I love getting notes back from crocheters and knitters who are using it and Mon Amie. Thanks for your support!

Elspeth was featured in KP’s October Catalog, much to my surprise and delight!   Again, I’d like to say how much I enjoy being a part of the Knit Picks IDP program!  It’s been such a great springboard for me as a new designer.  So cool!

My husband made this for Facebook and then we had champagne.