Thursday, December 18, 2014

Purple Fox Goes Sledding

I've got another test knit to share with you.  This time it is from one of my all time favorite designers on ravelry, Lisa Chemery (Frogginette).  I have been favoriting her patterns since I joined ravelry (way before I even thought about starting a family).  She just designs the most darling patterns for little ones.  Recently, I happened to be looking through her group on ravlery and noticed that she was running a test knit for her newest pattern: Silverfox Beanie and Slouch.  People, I didn't even have time to breathe.  I typed my response in so fast I was hardly sure my wording made sense.  Then I spent the rest of the day with my fingers crossed, hoping Lisa would pick me to be one of her test knitters.

The next day I saw that she had picked me to be a test knitter for her!  Luckily, I had already started swatching, because I had high hopes that I might be picked.  I had really wanted to knit up the hat in my Rowan Belle Organic Aran that I had picked up at half off at my local yarn shop, unfortunately I could not get row gauge with it.  So I decided to use my only dk yarn on hand - Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk.  The color is a taupe or khaki, which is kind of blah for a little girl, so I decided to use my purple Rowan yarn for the ribbing and pom-pom to add an accent of color.

Knitting this hat was so much fun.  I had actually planned on doing the beanie version, but when I got to the part where I needed to start the decreases for the beanie, I wasn't ready to be done with the project.  Late in the night, I made the decision to stretch out the project by knitting the slouch version.  Haha, ever had that happen?  Seriously though, the cable pattern was just so interesting that I wanted to keep knitting it.

I was so excited to take pictures of the hat that immediately after attaching the pom-pom I asked my daughter if she wanted to go sledding.  Even at 16 months, I didn't have to ask her twice, I didn't even get my needle put away and she was already standing in front of my with her boots and snow pants.  This girl loves to go sledding (perhaps that is because there is no actual work involved for her, she merely enjoys sitting in the sled while mama runs up and down the hills pulling the sled).  Anyway, I was glad to see that this slouchy had was over sized enough to completely cover her ears, so we took a few more laps around the yard before I got cold and wanted to go inside.

I have to admit that all of this test knitting is doing a really good job of distracting me from the things I want to sew.  No complaints though, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting cozy on the couch with my knitting during nap time and in the evenings.  Have you been doing any knitting lately?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Curious Waves in the Sea

“My favorite colors are the colors of the sea, blue and grey and green, depending on the weather.” Sarah, Plain and Tall(Patricia MacLachlan).

I've shared this before but I loved reading as a kid, and still remember many of my first chapter books.  I'm not sure exactly why, but something about being a mommy gets me all nostalgic about my childhood.  So, when I saw this yarn on sale and noticed the colors blue, grey and green; I immediately thought of the book Sarah, Plain and Tall and decided that they would be great for knitting a sweater for my little sweet pea.  

I set the yarn aside and waited for the perfect pattern to show up.  Well, not too long ago I decided to join two ravelry groups for patter testers (Free Pattern Testers and The Testing Pool).  I have always been curious about the testing process.  I've seen lots of test projects in the sewing world for indie pattern designers.  On ravelry I've often come across projects that were labeled as test knits.  I assumed that to be a tester you needed to be one of those people who cranked out a new sweater every other week or so, or at least a good friend of the designer.  This is not so!  The two groups I just mentioned are set up so designers share a picture of their upcoming design along with the requirements and then ask for testers.  Shortly after I joined the group, I noticed that Milja Designs had posted a request to test her Curious Baby Zig Zag Cardigan.  I thought about it for nearly two weeks - because I was nervous to offer to be a tester.  I thought I might fail and not meet the deadline.  However, the pattern was so darn cute, and I thought it would be the perfect match for ocean colored yarn - as those zig zags could just as easily be waves in the sea.

Even though she was looking for a tester who had some testing history, Milja allowed me to test her pattern.  I loved this opportunity.  Let me be honest, and confess that the first thing that drew me to testing was to get the pattern for free.  Even though knitting patterns are generally around $5.00 and very affordable, I like the idea of not having to pay for them.  However, as I continued through the test process, I decided that I loved it for so much more than the free pattern.  I loved being one of the first to try a pattern, I loved knowing that I was helping the designer, and I loved that a tight deadline got me to knit my daughter a sweater in only two weeks!

Have you ever wanted to be part of the testing process, but weren't sure how to get an "in".  If you are knitter, joining one or both of the groups I mentioned above would be a great way to get started.  Have you ever been part of the testing process for a knitting or sewing pattern?  I would love to hear about it.