Tuesday, June 26, 2012

As An Experienced Lace Knitter...: The Sample Knitting Saga (cont.)

Not too long ago I was excited to give an aspiring lace knitter advice on how to dive into the wonderful world of lace. I suggested a few of the basics like:

I was happy to encourage another knitter to try this beautiful technique that I enjoy so much! And I was very proud to have enough experience to be a credible mentor. *wry smile*

So let me tell you how the "teacher" has been coming along with her latest lace fiasco project...Now remember, I am an experienced lace knitter, so the rules don't apply to me; I am above the law here.

As many of you know, I've been working on the Shattered Sun Shawl by Felicia Lo. This isn't a really complicated pattern, but I would probably not recommend it as a first lace project. I would consider this a second or third project because of the amount of non-repeating stitches on every row. It's kinda funny really, but I've had a bit of trouble with this myself (even though I AM an experienced lace knitter and I think repeats are boring). I seem to be repairing stitches at the end of every lace row because I forget to stop repeating. But it's no big deal, really, just takes a few extra minutes...on every other row...

Aside from the extra knitting (and un-knitting) that I'm doing all the time, I think I'm really moving along! I remember that it was really exciting when I finished row 4 of the lace section. Of course then there was this crazy thing that happened where the stitch count was all wrong. No big deal for an experienced lace knitter like myself, though. I can usually look at the established pattern to see where it's going wonky and fix it when I come back to the mistake on the next row. See, the thing here is that there actually wasn't an established pattern yet (since it was only row 4) so I couldn't see my error. And I've been doing so much un-knitting recently (at the end of every other row) that I didn't really feel like fixing it THAT way. And the whole life line thing...well, you know, I'm an experienced lace knitter so I never use those anymore. But it's ok, I feel confident enough to rip back two rows and then * hunt for all the pieces of my lace pattern puzzle.

*see note above

Well, ripping back worked pretty well-- I found almost all my stitches. Unfortunately lace knitting isn't horse shoes, and close really doesn't work, so I decided the best thing to do was rip back to my last stockinette row and restart the lace section. I mean, we're really only talking about two more rows here... I can handle that. So I ripped back two more rows, recounted, and finally had the correct number of stitches so I could continue. All in all, this whole crazy "it'll never happen to me" knitting moment wasn't terribly time-expensive-- about 6 days so far.

(Maybe more expensive than I thought...)

So now it's been several days and I've only picked up my knitting twice (mainly because I've been very busy with Everyday Peacocks stuff). I am finally through row 9 of the lace section, though, and have my pattern well established so that I can fix my mistakes as I go along-- ask me how I know that...

All this redoing and ripping has me really questioning why all this has been happening to me. Remember now, I am an experienced lace knitter here, so the rules don't really apply to me. However, I think I figured out what might be causing some of the problems. I'll give you a hint: he's two years old, full of curiosity, and a handfull and a half!

I'm usually following my boy around the yard while I'm knitting, since this is the only knitting time I can seem to find. But I am so experienced that I can keep up with a simple repeating lace pattern while making sure that my kid is staying out of trouble... Of course there was this time that he decided to drink the sand in the sandbox (I dropped my knitting mid-row), or that time he decided to rip one of the flowers we bought out of the planter box (I chased him around for a minute to get it back, but luckily the roots were still intact AND I was able to hang onto my knitting). Come to think of it, he's a real little stinker and loves to push his limits! It's amazing to watch him grow and explore his personality, though. This time with him is so precious to me and I am thankful everyday for seeing life through his eyes. The social interaction with my toddler is a bit distracting for my lace knitting, but I wouldn't trade a second of it for all the CashSilk yarn in the world!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Exciting Yarny Give Away!

I've been sitting on this info for about a week and a half now and I'm about to burst with anticipation! Everyday Peacocks is teaming up with some very exciting names in the yarny world for a fabulous prize give away!

I met Ariane and Laurie from Falling Stitches during NKIP Day in Sutton, QC. It was an incredibly fun day, as you may remember reading a little while back. That spectacular day they invited me to join in with the give away they are hosting for the release of Ariane's brand new pattern "Aurore". The pattern is absolutely fabulous so of course I was happy to come on board! Ok, selfish truth? I really would just LOVE to see some of my stitch markers on the needles with this gorgeous cowl! What a perfect peacock moment that would be!

Falling Stitches is not giving away just one pattern, not just two patterns, but THREE patterns with three prize packs:
  • The first prize offered is a printed version of "Aurore" with A skein of scrumptious Indigo Moon or Fleece Artist yarn-- courtesy of Mont Tricot yarn store.
  • The second prize will be a digital copy of "Aurore" and a special Everyday Peacocks Tool Kit with matching stitch holder and five stitch markers.
  • And the third prize is a digital copy of "Aurore" and a big smiley thank you!

So what are you waiting for? Hop on over to Falling Stiches Blog and enter to win one of these fantastic prizes! Good luck!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Crafty Plan: The Sample Knit Saga (cont.)

I'm so glad the weather has changed bringing Southern Quebec warm sunshiny afternoons. I'm NOT as thrilled that this has been seriously cutting into my knitting time. Let me explain...

Happy Boy

From the time my youngest son gets up in the morning, till long after dark at night, he wants to be outside-- pitches fits to be outside-- and actually has a daily meltdown at nap time due to the mandatory four walls looming in his near future. I absolutely LOVE his enthusiasm for nature and exercise! I absolutely HATE that all my project bags have ridiculously short straps-- just long enough to let my armpit get a great view of what's inside. For those unaware, this means it's quite difficult to knit while carrying it around. So when the weather is nice, I am chasing around a toddler outside-- who, by the way, doesn't actually want to play with me, I'm just a good audience. Without a project bag to carry with me, I'm losing out on some Super-Primo knitting time!!! With new CashSilk draping seductively from my needles, this just won't do!

Sweet Georgia CashSilk

I think my solution is quite brilliant really, not to toot my own horn or anything. Ok...maybe brilliant is pushing it a little. We'll go with Inspired. The idea started with me needing a way to carry my yarn bowl around with me--since I don't want to muck up this beautiful yarn. (By the way, the yarn bowl in question is not actually a yarn bowl...another yarny issue I should deal with in the near future.) I needed a big bag, with a wide mouth, and a long strap. You know, a lot like those messenger bag type purses that were in style years ago...like the one that's been hanging in my hall closet for the last five or six years collecting dust.

New-Old Knitting Bag

Talk about a light bulb going off! I think I could've lit up half the state of Texas with that realization! So off I rushed to said bag hanging exactly where I left it so many years ago. Now, for those who don't know me, this by itself is a feat-- things in our house have a particularly irritating way of sprouting legs and walking off. Giddy as a schoolgirl, I snatched up my new-old project bag and rushed off to try it out!


It turns out that I could not have bought a better solution (with the exception of a couple of Velcro strips which will be removed shortly.) I have my wide mouth pouch, which is just deep enough, plus two smaller pouches on the front-- one for my row counts and project notes, the other for my stitch markers and other notions. Bag Pockets And to top it all off, there is a large messenger style flap that covers everything when I am not knitting. I think my favorite feature so far is the little side pouch (intended for pencils) where I keep a tiny crochet hook for M1 or dropped stitches. It has been incredibly handy!

Everyone's Happy The Chase is On

So now I say "Bring on the sun... Bring on the sandbox...Bring on the toddler chase! I am armed and ready!" Knitting time has returned. Now,let's see just how long this lace panel is going to take me...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stitch Holders Have Arrived!!!

I am so excited to announce that Everyday Peacocks has released the newest edition to the "Springly" Jewelry Collection-- Sterling Silver Knitting Stitch Holders!!!

With both beauty and function in mind, they make the perfect jewelry accessory for any knitting project! Each design is weight balanced so that it lays flat against the knitted side of your project, as well as hanging below the needle edge to stay out of the way. It's like a dazzling hair barrette for your yarn!

Two designs are now available in my online store with more designs coming soon! So check back often, cause you KNOW I'm saving the best for last!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Making Time For Yarn: The Sample Knit Saga

I was super excited when Lucinda asked me if I wanted to knit up a store sample this past weekend. I jumped at the opportunity to play with some new yarn-- for business reasons, of course... She let me pick the pattern from her massive in store library (in both French and English,) and after much deliberation I went with my first inspiration-- the Shattered Sun Shawl designed by Felicia Lo.

Shattered Sun Shawl

I know that no one will believe me, but this pattern coincidentally calls for the exact same yarn that I have been drooling over since the very first time I saw it. I couldn't believe my luck! So now I am the happy knitter of some delicious Sweet Georgia Yarns CashSilk Lace. Such an amazing cashmere silk blend, the fabric actually somehow feels like butter in my hands...

Tourmaline CashSilk

Between my Etsy store and family, I don't have a lot of time to knit these days, but I am now totally motivated to make it a priority. After all, every Peacock needs to have some "ME" time to keep her feathers unruffled and perky. It's time for this birdie to start preening! If you want to follow along with my progress, you can check out my Ravelry project page. And of course, if you just want to catch the highlights, stick around or subscribe to my blog-- I'll keep ya' posted!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fairy Godmothers Do Exist! -- Lucinda's magic wand

I think it's time to introduce Everyday Peacocks's greatest treasure. Lucinda Iglesias is the owner, founder, and energetic social butterfly behind Mont Tricot in Sutton, Quebec. She has been an amazing support and encouragement from the very beginning and I feel incredibly lucky to have met her!

Lucinda opened the doors to Mont Tricot at the beginning of May and hasn't been able to close them since. Folks have been absolutely swarming her shop-- keeping her very busy-- and it's no wonder why when you take a peek inside! The cozy little store is packed from floor to ceiling with scrumptious, squeezable, colorific yarny goodness just screaming to be touched. She has a wonderful selection of brands and fibers with more and more exotic ones arriving every day. From wool to silk, cotton to acrylic, banana leaf to milk fiber, she really does have it all! I love walking through the store and feeling up her samples-- all made with yarn she sells-- and trying out new stuff sitting ready on the needles. She has been working feverishly to also create a Mont Tricot online store, and now has a wonderful selection available there as well.

I first met Lucinda on Ravelry where she started a group to announce her new store. Since I live close by, I received an invitation to join. Shortly before I learned of Mont Tricot, my husband and I had been discussing the need for me to return to work. (I have been fortunate enough to stay at home with my 23 month old boy since he was born almost two years ago.) One option I was considering is opening an Etsy store to sell my stitch markers and shawl pins online, but trying to start up a company-- even a small online store-- is hard on a shoestring budget. So when I heard about a new local yarn store I jumped at the opportunity! I asked Lucinda if she was intereested in displaying local artisans at the store, and it turns out she was already scouting the scene. I showed her some designs and all of the sudden Everyday Peacocks went from dream to reality! My shawl pins are now being sold at Mont Tricot and I couldn't be more proud.

Lucinda's support and encouragement has allowed me to not only open my Etsy shop, but it has also allowed Everyday Peacocks to bloom. I have expanded my catalog to include stitch markers and stitch holders (also being sold at Mont Tricot, coming soon to my online shop) with designs for a new collection in the works. Lucinda, you are fabulous and will always be my Fairy Godmother!

Monday, June 11, 2012

National Kint In Public Day-- Fun in Sutton, Quebec!

What an amazing day I had this past Saturday...Lots of sunshine, a gentle breeze, great company, and OODLES of yarn! What more could you ask for in the perfect day?

Saturday June 9 kicked off a weeklong event celebrated all around the world-- in certain circles anyway. This week is National Knit in Public Week, when knitters swarm high traffic public spaces to share their love of knitting with the rest of the world. Depending on the area, there could be a massive turn out or a very small one. I spent Saturday in beautiful Sutton, Quebec where weather cooperated and knitting was aplenty! There was probably close to fifty people who showed up to take part, though really no more than 30 at any one time-- folks were coming and going all day.

I arrived at the busy "downtown" locale at around 11:00AM and left at 5:00PM which is when the sponsoring shop Mont Tricot was closing up. Sutton is known as a very touristy summer town. Famous for its biking events and quaint little shops, it's a popular destination for people to spend the day walking around with friends or riding their bikes--with or without teams and groups. So the streets and sidewalks were jam-packed for our little event on such a perfect early summer day.

Mont Tricot is located at Sutton Place, a bustling shopping center at the heart of town with a lovely white gazebo nestled in front. This is where we congregated for our spectacular spectacle! And what a spectacle it was! There was no shortage of oohing, aahing, and curious eyes trying to take it all in. At one point there was even a bike team that whizzed by and in the middle of the pack was a man with his camera phone out recording us as they passed along! I've really got to find that video... It's probably on YouTube.

The majority of ladies who came to knit are from Sutton, though there were a few, like me, who came from a bit farther. We even had a few celebrity sightings! Ok... not THAT famous, but they are getting pretty big in the knitting community. Lisa, writer of Petite Tuques, dropped in a few times with her adorable boys. She bribed them with ice cream to try finger knitting-- What a smart, industrious Mom! (If this weren't a proper blog post, I'd smiley face all over that!).

A little later, Ariane and Laurie from Falling Stitches arrived from Montreal. It was great meeting them and we have exciting plans coming up... More on this in a few days...

I think the most fabulous thing about the day was all the amazing ladies I met. There was representation of three to four generations of knitters at that gazebo and I felt privileged to be a part! We had little ones who were learning to finger knit or use needles, we had more seasoned knitters helping those less experienced solve their knitting woes, and we saw a multitude of glorious items being created! There was even a late-comer who did not know what was taking place and so did not have her knitting with her. Lucinda, shop owner of Mont Tricot, had it covered-- she had some sample knitting with fun yarns out for folks to try out and play with. So our yarnless knitter took up one of these squares and went to town. She was so much a part of our group that I was unaware it was not her own project until she told me! It was a lot of fun to see all the different techniques, as well. There was both Continental and English, baby booties and blankets, intarsia and lace, just a crazy hodgepodge of things now added to my "must-do!" list.

So I guess the big question is how much knitting did I get done? Honestly, between mistakes I made and corrected, showing off my projects and favorite patterns on Ravelry, and oohing and aaahing over other people's work, I didn't get very much knitting done. But the event wasn't about project progress. It was about sharing, about friendship, and about camaraderie. There was plenty of all three with tons of yarn to boot, so I'd say that NKIP Day was a huge success!

If you would like to see more photos of the event, head on over to my Facebook page. I have an entire album posted right here!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

New Shop in Town!

Welcome to Everyday Peacocks!... Or the blog, at least. I hope to be using this space as a way to bring life to all the things my yarn jewelry stands for. I'm looking forward to sharing my processes, news, and life with you all... Just as soon as I get the toddler down from the curtains... In the mean time, Happy Yarning!