My Secret Wish by Talena

Big Week Ahead

Big Week Ahead

I’m not sure I’m cramming enough exciting things into my week. What do you think?

Equilibrium: What a Rush!

Equilibrium: What a Rush!

Today, I had an epiphany. I realized that my idealized state of “balance” and true homeostasis are not the same thing. This is going to change everything…

When You Just Can't Do It All

When You Just Can't Do It All

Lately, I've been getting that too-familiar "overwhelmed" feeling.  Looking back over the first six months of this year, I am coming to a difficult conclusion: I still can't do it all. So it's time to reset some priorities.

Introducing the "Just Plain Mittens" Pattern!

Introducing the "Just Plain Mittens" Pattern!

At last, this pattern is finally ready! When you see all that it has to offer, you'll know why it took nine months to make! (Okay, so I didn't knit a lot during the summer... but this pattern did get super-tested!)

7 Moments to Remember

7 Moments to Remember

A collection of my favourite daily moments in the last 1-2 weeks.

7 Awesome Things

7 Awesome Things

7 awesome, geeky, eye-candy-ish things to enjoy. Happy Saturday!

Reading Your Knitting: Understanding Increases and Decreases

Reading Your Knitting: Understanding Increases and Decreases

What's a knitter to do when they never remember to flip their row counter? Learn to read your stitches, and you won't ever need one again. How to tell how many rows you've knit since the last time you increased or decreased.

New Knitting Tutorials

New Knitting Tutorials

In preparation for the release of my new pattern, Jill and the Bean Socks, I have created two new knitting tutorials for the Left-leaning and Right-leaning Bar Increases. (Plus my very first knitting tutorial videos!)

Yarn Everywhere!

There is probably some irony in the fact that I spent nearly two weeks around the greater Seattle area, and the only time I actually entered the city proper was on our way home from Vancouver Island, when our GPS stopped working and we ended up taking the freeway right by downtown before we figured out what was happening. It was a really pretty view at night--so glad we drove by that way. :-)

However, we did get to visit a fair number of communities around Seattle, not least of which being Redmond, where the Microsoft campus is--of course Logan took us there! We even got to eat lunch at a couple of their on-campus ethnic cafeterias. I opted for Indian food, and was pretty sad that my cold prevented me from fully enjoying the flavours I knew were present. (Side note: I gained respect for Microsoft as a company when we went to throw out our plates and found that nearly everything on my tray was compostable plastic or paper, and MS has two bins for compost and only one for the landfill. Honestly, I don't know what ever gets put in the latter. Maybe if someone brought their own plastic cutlery, just to be a jerk?)

My mother and I both being knitters, we also wanted to visit a couple of Local Yarn Stores (LYS) to bask in glorious yarny options. Living in the North, most of our yarn shopping is done online, so we often take it on faith, or just take the risk, that the yarn we are ordering will be the softness, colour, or look that we want when we buy it. To actually touch the yarns and see all the options available before buying them was a huge treat, especially as many of these stores carry yarns that are quite specialized and luxurious. When a quick internet search turned up scads of yarn stores in the area, the idea of visiting a yarn store or two morphed into doing a "yarn store crawl."

My social media usage was seriously curtailed during my trip, but I did manage to post about the stores we visited on my My Secret Wish by Talena Facebook page as we went, so I am simply going to repost those posts here for posterity. (Posty posted posting... :-D)

February 13:

I have been doing a yarn store crawl in the Seattle area while visiting my brother here, although it has been hampered by all four of us (my mom, brother, 2-year-old son, and I) having one of the top 3 Worst Colds Ever.

We started at Serial Knitters in Kirkland, which was a lovely store with friendly service. The ladies knitting together in the back looked like they held that position often, and the customer I mistakenly took for staff laughingly explained she only lived there, not worked there.

Great place. Check it out next time you are in this neck of the woods.

Project-in-progress: Revolution Mitten for Levi, first of the pair.

The next store we went hunting for was no longer in business--that's what we get for trusting a GPS that hadn't been updated in 5 years! It was a combination tea/yarn store, but we weren't out of luck yet--there was another one of these awesome combination stores in Ballard, and we headed straight over there instead (after calling to make sure they still WERE in business!) Jean and Patricia at The Tea Cozy were wonderful to deal with, and we got some luscious yarny treats from here.

I picked up my first ever skeins of Madelinetosh yarn, something long-coveted on my wish list.

Project-in-progress: my mom's first cable project. (Oh, yes, she did choose a travelling cable stole.)

February 15:

Yesterday, we were feeling a little healthier, so we headed out and about again. We had three yarn stores south of here on the roster. As it turns out, Tolt Yarn and Wool was the only one of the three still in business--but it made the whole trip worthwhile on its own.

Found in the little town of Carnation, Washington, it is bursting with charm, character, and comfort. The spacious interior is reminiscent of an old-fashioned hardware store, with yarn tucked into wooden crates and boxes and acid-etched cement floors. The selection was stunning and a feast for the eyes. In the back, the Saturday knitting crowd happily shared their projects-in-progress with us as they clicked away by a roaring fire in the wood stove.

As I checked out with my Donegal Tweed yarn in a yummy shade of Kelly green (really from Donegal, Ireland!), one of the two ladies on staff that day gave me an amazing tip about how the yarn washes from her own personal experience with it... and lovingly wrapped my skeins in tissue and sealed the package with a sticker before popping it into a lovely paper shopping bag. (I'm a sucker for great presentation.)

If I ever open a yarn store, this is going to be high on the list of stores I try to emulate. Another store I highly recommend!

Yes, this is a gauge swatch. Eep--I was between mittens, and tradition dictates that a project-in-progress photo needs to be something ON THE NEEDLES. Mom was swatching to start the new Snow for Lorelai Boot Cuffs. :-)

February 17:

One of the knitters we met at Tolt Yarn and Wool recommended that we stop at Mount Vernon's WildFibers on our way home the next day, so we did. And we are SOOO glad. What a lovely little shop! The yarn selection is stunning, and arranged around the walls by weight, so it is easy to find what you are looking for. The samples on display around the shop were beautiful, and the lady working that day said they were mostly knit by the owner and her mother. With yarns from Rowan, Madelinetosh, and more, this is one yarn store you won't want to miss.

...Not to mention the rest of the town, which was oozing with vintage charm. We have now put Mount Vernon on our "places to come and explore" list for our next visit to Washington.

Project-in-Progress: Pink Hawaii socks--a pattern I will likely make available when I finally finish the pair!

And so ended our yarny adventures. I had planned to do much more knitting on the trip than I did, but The Cold sapped all my energy, including my will to knit (!). However, I did finally finish the mittens I started for Levi on the way down the day after we got home:

3-Colour  Revolution Mittens ! Fun project for my little man!

3-Colour Revolution Mittens! Fun project for my little man!

Logan was a really great sport about chauffeuring us around to the various stores, and also helped with entertaining the whiny, sick toddler so we could actually look. What a great brother/uncle! Thanks, Logan! This was definitely a fun part of our trip!

We Interrupt This Craziness

Wow. I have been trying for the last two weeks to get a post up here about the craziness of the last two weeks. But said craziness has kept me pretty busy.

So, in brief, I have:

  • run into a snow bank and ripped up the front bumper of my van
  • had someone in Malaysia try to use a copy of my debit card to withdraw from our account. Exciting stuff. I have only forgotten the PIN on my new card about 6 times.
  • had a couple of puking kids. I am SO sick and tired of the kids being sick and tired!!
  • nearly finished with the Snow for Lorelai pattern. Seriously. Maybe I'll even be done tonight, depending on how long I want to stay up.
  • Got invited to hit the road with my mom to go visit my brother. This week. Circumstances aligned and I can actually go!
  • Did a down-and-back-in-one-day trip to Edmonton to get Levi's passport.
  • Finally (mostly) finished my website at Winters Distributing. Not a moment too soon for that January 31 deadline, either!
  • Not gotten enough sleep...

... but then, what else is new?

Snowman made by Jude, his friend Andrew, and Jabin last Sunday.

Pretty impressive, right?

Sweet (healthy) Jude comforting sick, tired Levi on a day off of school Friday.

The other boys celebrated the home day by breaking out the Monopoly game before breakfast!

Happy Sunday night, friends! How have you been, lately?

Indecision Strikes

I haven't often had trouble deciding on the name for one of my patterns. It happened once before, and I ran a naming contest that resulted in the Killick Cap getting its moniker--something way cooler than I would have thought of myself.

I know I told you guys (in my newsletter last week) that I would have a new Boot Cuff and Mitten pattern in the store this week. Well... I'm really, really close. I finally got the photos taken on Friday, which was a major hold-up in the process.

All along in the design process, I have been calling this the "Gilmore Girls" set, as this show has figured heavily into the knitting time on these babies, and it seemed appropriate for the pattern. I named the lighter-weight version "Rory" and the heavier-weight one "Lorelai", after Rory's vivacious mother .

And I even found the perfect Lorelai Gilmore quote to open the description:

Everything’s magical when it snows, everything looks pretty. The clothes are great. Coats, scarves, gloves, hats.
— Lorelai Gilmore ("Gilmore Girls")

Indecision has featured heavily in the design process, which has meant more options included in the pattern. Yay! Can't decide which way I like the cables? Knit ALL the ways! Can't decide if I like it better with one strand of yarn or two? Knit ALL the ways! Can't decide just how long I want those fingerless mittens to be? Knit ALL the w... well, you get it.

And then, just last week as I was taking the promo photos, I got the REAL name of the pattern. The perfect name.

It is surprising how warm these boot cuffs are--I am practically living in them in my office (now that I am finally allowed to wear them without fear of messing them up!)

Just a few more days of work on the Winters Distributing store, and then I can finish revising this pattern and it will be done! Whoo-eee!!!

Stay warm, friends!

Reading Your Knitting: Part 1 - Knit and Purl

I am beginning a series of Stitch Tutorials to help knitters catch mistakes sooner by helping them to understand what they are looking at in their knitting. I have just published part 1, which helps Beginners understand when they are are looking at a knit or a purl stitch, and what to do next.

Is this you? If so, go check out the tutorial here: "Reading Your Knitting: Part 1 - Knit and Purl".

New Pattern Coming Soon

I have been working on this idea for almost a year, now: mix-n-match mittens, gloves, glittens, and fingerless gloves/mittens, all in one booklet. My original idea was to offer 4-6 different cuff and hand back options which could be used interchangeably with each other, in two weights of yarn and in all the above-mentioned styles.

Turns out, that is a LOT of work. Lots of samples to knit. LOTS of knitting. Wow.

I have not given up on the idea--I am quite enjoying the challenge. But I have decided to release the patterns in smaller chunks. Once I have several patterns completed and tested, I will release a collection.

The first pattern I will be releasing is the "Mermaid Tails and Dragon Scales" design combo. There will still be mittens, gloves, glittens, and fingerless mittens and gloves in the pattern, designed for aran-weight yarn. I will include a fingering-weight plain liner pattern. And here is what the gloves look like:

Are you excited? I am. The pattern is coming soon! :-)