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Archive for the 'ZigBagZ' Category

Mary’s ZigBag is coming right along!

Saturday, April 19th, 2008


Mary is taking my ZigBagZ Maxi Collection class at Rae’s Yarn Boutique right now. I took this photo of her bag a week ago (my, how time flies). This is the base of her “Biggie Zig” which is a sort of large purse carry-all. It’s bigger now, because it will be shrunk on purpose when she is done knitting.

She is thrilled with the colors she picked. I think they are dead-on perfect for her. (This is proof that you can make ColorJoy patterns with *your* colors and they can be absolutely ColorJoy for *you*.)

I am looking forward to the next time we meet (in a few weeks, I think) when I can see the sides of the bag, zigzagged in 4 yarns (the base used only 2 yarns).

Go, Mary!

ZigBagZ a-Blooming!

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

maryfoxzigbagyarns.jpgOn Ravelry, one of my Friends has posted that she finished a BottleZig, no photos yet. She did write me a nice note saying how pleased she was with my instructions. As someone who loves teaching in person, it pleases me that I can put the words together on paper to teach from afar. That note made me very happy!

Then Mary took my Maxi ZigBagZ class on Thursday this week at Rae’s. She started a bag in colors that are really her style, more muted than my typical colors. She has a heathery brown and a heathery teal as her solid colors, with a sort of beige/light brown/cream and a light greens set of multicolors. Incredible choices, and I will be very interested to see the fabric as it is created. The photo here is the knitting she was able to finish in the first class session. I got a note from her the next day and it sounds like she is zipping right along on it. Watching colors develop in the fabric, especially when one color is constantly changing, surely keeps me interested in a project!

I also see that MyMerinoMantra has started a bag, too. She had some Noro Kureyon color-changing yarn, and came in to Lansing to buy the Maxi ZigBagZ collection pattern plus two colors of Cascade 220 as her main/solid colors to go with them. This will be a lovely combination. I am eager to see how that develops as well!

As for me, I’m tired of knitting ZigBagZ but not colors next to one another. Right now I’m knitting a hat in one solid (purple) yarn and a self-striping green/turquoise/blue. Gorgeous. It’s a new technique for me, but anything that allows me to play with color contrast makes me very happy. I’ve taken a few photos and will post those as I get a chance in the next few days.

Brian and I think we may drive to Chicago for an overnight tomorrow. I am really eager to eat Indian food on Devon Street (Avenue?). I love the clothes there, too, but usually it takes me so long to find something I really want that I won’t make Brian go through the agony. I may buy some bangle bracelets as a prop for the upcoming Habibi Dancers show. I’m doing a dance that basically requires bangle bracelets for the costume. These are easy to find (they come in tubes) in that section of town.

And Patel Brothers grocery? That is a heavenly place, as well!!!

Update: New Patterns

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

magknitspeek1.jpgI got word this week from Kerrie at MagKnits, somehow I didn’t get the original notice that the February issue has been delayed until March. It was an oversight, she sent out notice to thousands of people and somehow I was not on the list. Either that, or my spam filter ate her note.

For those of you asking about my upcoming MagKnits pattern (detail above), it is still coming but just not for another week or so. Thank you for asking, it makes me understand that you are reading this and that you are excited with me about the publication.

(Note added months later: Magknits is no longer online. This pattern can be downloaded as a free pattern from Ravelry, even if you are not a member. Ravelry is free and worth its weight in gold to a knitter, if you ask me! If you want this pattern, download now by using this download link.)


Second, I’m plugging away on the two ZigBagZ collections. There will be one pattern (Maxi Collection) of the two large carry-all patterns, the Biggie and the Burly.

There will be a different pattern (Mini Collection) with three smaller bags… one tube for a half-liter water bottle, one larger tube for a caribiner-style water bottle or a small Aladdin Stanley Thermos, and a small pocketbook so to speak, a little cute rectangular bag which can easily hold a cell phone, a wallet, sunglasses, the basics when you want to travel light.

In the above photo, you see “before” and “after.” I’m holding open the pre-felted Burly Bag that Diana knit as a sample for Rae’s shop (the checkerboard section is actually the base of the bag). Sitting next to me on the floor is the Burly Bag that cousin Karen knit and felted and shrunk and shrunk. It’s really wonderful fabric, really dense and durable.

I’ve been testing out this bag and the straps are strong enough to carry the weight in there even when it includes two knitting books, a camera, cell phone, palm pilot, wallet, bottle of water and the other zillion knitting supplies I always carry with me. I am very pleased with the useability of the bag.

biggiezigafter66.jpgI tend to under-felt things. My bag that I had knit for myself as a prototype (at right) is much more springy and soft-sided (and taller) than the one Karen made. Both are very useable and wonderful to wear and tote things in. I have determined to shrink mine just a little more after using Karen’s for a while.

Anyway I am now taking pre-orders for both collections on my website shop. Local folks, do hang tight because the local shops who carry my patterns will be carrying these. Please support your local shops when you can.

Out of town folks, I’m delighted to take orders or you can wait. Or even better, tell your local shop that I am accepting new shop orders out of my area. My goal is to ship to everyone (shops included) by Wednesday, February 27.

Thank you for your continued interest in my work. I have been so sick I have not been able to focus much on detailed text, really since the 4th of February. I’m much better but still fighting off a cough and tiredness.

Actually, this flu thing is going around so fast that the three main employees at Rae’s shop (including Rae), are all sick at the same time. I’m going to do my best to open/run the shop for Rae tomorrow while everyone else is working on their own healing. If you come by, please be nice to me while I do my best.

zigmini600x600.jpgI’m not the most experienced shop employee. I am a teacher, primarily. I do pretty well with the computer part, anyway. And hey, I know what it’s like to be self-employed and have nobody to rescue you.

It’s my honor to help. People have been so good to me while I’ve been slowly coming back to almost-normal. It’s my turn to put out a little effort in thanks.

Now, back to that pattern…

Better, Tired, Happy, Just Fine

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

zigbagz600x600.jpgDon’t worry about me… there is a lot of sleep going on between the little work I’m doing out of the house. We sang Friday and Saturday, and then went home and crashed.

I am working as much as I can on the ZigBagZ patterns. I have put up pages on my shopping cart under accessory patterns, where folks can pre-order. I am doing whatever I can to get a well-thought pattern printed for you.

Right now I am separating the two large bags from the three smaller ones, I will be calling them the Maxi and Mini collections, sort of like skirts in 1970 if you remember. (I was a huge fan of the maxi, especially for winter coats.)

It was just too long and hard to follow with all the information I was trying to cram in there. Fifteen zigmini600x600.jpgpages with five bag designs just cannot work in one $6 pattern. It needed to be split or turned into a brochure/booklet, and I am not prepared to have two pattern formats at this time.

I’m fine, thank you for caring about me so much. I work 2 hours Sunday and no classes Monday. Pattern should develop quickly without any interruption… or so is my plan. It sure is nice to have my good brain engaged again after all that foggy time.


Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Dang. It’s not even done with January yet and I have a cold. Trust me, I’m counting my blessings… I didn’t feel crummy until just after our Friday concert was over with. First I had a doozy of a headache, then the cold set in but luckily without the headache… I’m all for a cold rather than a headache, personally.

We don’t perform again until February 8 (Foods For Living, 4pm-6pm). So I’ll surely be feeling fine in time for that performance. It’s a cold. They don’t last forever.

Meanwhile, I toughed it out through my classes Monday at Haslett Community Ed. What I do there is unusual enough that I know nobody who could substitute for me. My students were wonderful and understanding, and it went fine.

But when I got home I was so wiped out I just plopped down on the couch. Brian thawed us some dinner from the freezer. (I can not tell you how wonderful my crockpots are, we cook two full ones at a time and freeze, and then we need not cook some nights. Just like tonight.) A couple of Excedrin and dinner, and I already feel better.

Planning a Mostly-Lazy Day

ravzigbagzbig.jpgTuesday I don’t work at all, though I have 2 short appointments scheduled. I think I can cancel one but not the other.

I will work Tuesday with my feet up on the couch. Thank goodness for laptops, I can do email from there now.

I will also finish knitting a few straps on bags that are nearly ready to be shrunk/felted for my new ZigBagZ patterns. And I will go back to learning InDesign (computer program for laying out patterns and other documents).

The Dreaded Learning Curve

I spent Saturday diving in deep, with this new program. I do not enjoy learning curves for computer programs, but I have a list of projects all waiting for me to master this one. I played with a simple pattern first, so in case I really messed it up I wouldn’t have wrecked something big. I have a mitten pattern almost ready to roll.

In the end I will use this program for many purposes. Most of the documents will be my patterns, and probably some promo materials for The Fabulous Heftones. I’ll also use it on menus for Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine… and my mother’s incredible very-beginning-reader books.

I will talk about Mom’s books here more when they become available. Mom is totally brilliant at teaching reading, and these books are her life’s work… her Opus. So that will be the very coolest thing I’ll do with the program, and very soon at that.

Nearly-Ready Pattern… Finally(?)

The ZigBagZ are really five separate bags. I have been discussing the possibilities for them with friends (yarn shop owners, test knitter/proofreader/collaborator Diana, knitting buddies).

It looks like I may decide to split the bags into two patterns, one for the three smaller ones and one for the two larger carry-all bags. They are all zigzag with the same number of stitches in a repeat, but there are different charts, different handles, different button flaps. The big bagz are significantly different in many ways, from the smaller bagz.

With five designs, I had to say “start with section A then go to Section C then D & E” or the like, for each of the smaller bags, which made it a bit hard to navigate. And at 15 pages, I would have to price the pattern higher than my other patterns which could be a hassle as I (and shops) sold them.

The pattern idea started out as a plan for a large carry-all. I made the smaller bags basically as gauge swatches, and they were so fun and useful that I kept going with them. They are all tested and mostly ready to go (it’s the two big bagz that have taken so much work and time).

The photo above is of the first two large bagz knit… the front one I knit, zigbagbottlezigsmweb.jpgthe back one Karen knit. Mine was from prototype numbers. Diana just finished another from actual pattern specs and it should arrive here tomorrow for me to shrink. Cross fingers. (Photo at left is small bottle bag, this one I kept for myself and use frequently.)

February 7

I have announced on Ravelry that this pattern will be available February 7, and I bought an advertisement on Ravelry to run from Feb. 14-29, so everything that is looking good needs to proceed as planned at this point.

But I’m thinking that Linda and Diana and Rae are right, that things would work better for me and my shops and my customers, if things in this project were more streamlined than they seem to be right now. Fifteen pages is TOO LONG for a pattern. At that point we are in booklet territory.

I wish for folks to make these bags without wondering what I was thinking when I set up the pattern I have a reputation for easy-to-follow patterns. I want to keep that reputation.

Cooking Sweet Green Pea Soup

greenpeasoup.jpgAnyway… that was a digression but maybe it was interesting to my knitting readers. The point is that I can still work, at least when the Excedrin is doing its job. And I will be as horizontal as I can. I will even limit my cooking time to as little as possible. In the end, it’s just a cold, right? Irritating but temporary.

Green pea soup works well in a crockpot. And it’s SO good. Check out this recipe at Paz’ website for a recipe which was my inspiration. Yum!


Sunday, October 28th, 2007

karenyarncroppedfeathered50.jpgEwe-niss posted a thoughtful comment the other day. First, she noticed my very colorful knitting needles. Those actually were my brother Eric’s idea… he and sis in love Diana gave them to me out of the blue the other day. I got two sets of double-pointed needles. One is size 4 (good for fat slipper socks, hats and wristwarmers) and the other (in the photo) set are size 10-1/2 which are great for felting projects. Love ’em.

Teaching Knitting to Beginners

She also pondered the teaching of children and what style of knitting? I had a group at a magnet school last year who I decided to teach using the continental (left hand holding yarn) method. I had maybe a dozen kids. In the end almost half just did not have the manual dexterity to control the yarn in that way, at that age. In fact, the difference between 6 years old and 8 years old is remarkable no matter what style you teach.

With the group at the magnet school, teaching half one way and half another did not really bug the kids too much, they knew there was more than one method, but then when they would help one another it made things a little harder. In the end I decided that in order to use my time as efficiently as possible I would go back to the good old way that Mr. Johnson taught me in 1969.

burlybagkarenbasedetail.jpgIt is a little more complex when teaching adults. I ask if they crochet and/or if they are left handed. If yes to either question, I teach continental method. If not, it depends on the situation what I do. Often I show them the right hand way first, and show them continental pretty soon afterward as an alternative. They at least know that there are two ways, and you never know which way folks will choose.

Sheer Enjoyment

In the end, knitting is not about speed. It’s about the comfort of making a loop, then another loop, then another. In my opinion we should absolutely love how the yarn feels in our fingers, and we should enjoy the making of loops. The speed of making loops is not as important as the enjoyment of the process. Yes, we often knit because we want an end product, but I would guess that an end product is just not enough for most folks to stick through as many loops as are required. You have to love the process.

Social Knitting

Today I spent some time with Erin at Schuler Books, after the rest of the knitting-for-others group had already left. I had a cup of very strong English Breakfast Tea and we chatted happily as she made a hat and I worked on a sock. We talked pets and places to live and jobs and computers and yarn and relationships… and food… and more. Such a nice time. Thanks, Erin.


Computer Class

My InDesign class went pretty well. At this point I can only use the program on my old laptop, while I wait for Adobe to decide that I have in fact purchased my software legally. It takes multiple phone calls and faxes and letters from seller to purchaser and and and and… more phone calls. And so far I’m approved at every phase but there continues to be another phase every time I call them. Sigh.

ZigBagZ Report

Karen, my cousin in Houston who is knitting a BurlyZig Bag for me, has sent preview photos of the base of her bag. I’m using the photo of her yarns and two photos of the base here for color and interest (she used the right-hand skeins for this part of the bag). With any luck I will have her completed bag for photographs, perhaps later this week. For now, enjoy the colors!!!

Gaining Faith: Another Colorway

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

biggiezigstitchpatterns16.jpgI almost lost faith there for a while, that the ZigBagZ collection would ever actually happen as a pattern (perhaps booklet, as now there are 5 bag designs planned in one publication). I was feeling low… thank goodness for those who keep pushing me forward when I slow down through discouragement.

Fortunately, I now am signed up for a page layout/Adobe InDesign class at the local community college this coming weekend. Therefore, the limitations I’ve had (particularly when I have tried to insert more photos than the system could take) will not be an issue. My learning curve and lack of experience in the program will take time, but the program will not be an anchor dragging me back as Word has.

Yes, I realize that Word is not made for layout. The issue mostly was that I know Word so well from the years I spent teaching its tiny details to corporate clients, that I could force it to behave. Mostly. And that did not require the learning curve and financial outlay that InDesign and the class required.

I am doing a lot of letting go this fall. I gave in and I’m changing programs. I also have a new computer this year which is still not making me happy but I’m adjusting.

I also got a new cell phone this week (which has such a confusing voice command system that I can not get it to work even with help from friends… and of course the book tells how to take photos and play music on the phone but doesn’t tell me how to dial hands-free. Why am I expecting a phone to be a phone these days? LOL. I’m obviously behind the times.

lynnbiggieyarns16.jpgBut I digress. I’ve been working on the text for this five-bag collection. This weekend I can start placing the text and photos in preparation for a print run. At the same time, my cousin Karen and my sis-in-love Diana are knitting the final sample bags. Diana is making a sample and Karen is testing the text (she gets to keep her sample when it’s done).

I showed the before/after yarn choices and bag base for Diana’s/Rae’s bag yesterday. Today I’m going back in time and showing you my own bag, the zigzag sides. I’m showing again the yarn and the finished knit fabric (in this case after felting/shrinking, yesterday’s sample is before).

biggiezigafter66.jpgIn this case, on my screen, the deep teal (dark turquoise) shows up as a little lighter here than in real life, though the other colors look about right. The bottom right teal is MC1 (main color/solid) and the multi sitting above it is the contrast used when knitting the teal. The solid pink bottom left is used in contrast with the blues/greens multi on top left.

Perhaps you can see that if the lines slant toward the left, I am using the solid teal and the multi pink. When the lines slant to the right, I’m using solid pink and multi cool tones. Can you see it? Perhaps it helps to see the base as a checkerboard for reference. The base was done in the teal/MC1 and the pink multi. Now can you see it?

What’s fascinating is that the stand-out colors are those which are neither teal/blue nor pink/orange. The yellow and green and nearly-black tones are what show up from this distance. Cool! It looks even more involved than it is.

I love this bag. I’m really pleased, very proud of the design. And finally I can see that maybe there will finally be a finished product. My goal had been November 1 and I’m seeing that maybe I did not give my knitters enough time… but it will definitely be November.

Maybe I’m jumping the gun… please don’t ask for the pattern just yet, though I’d be honored if a few someones put this on their “queue” of possible projects coming up. But today I feel like showing you the photo Rae took of me with the BiggieZig bag when it was fresh out of the washer and still a bit damp.

This BiggieZig bag is tall and wide but it has a slim profile. This theoretically means I won’t be taking up too much width when attending knitting events and trying to squeeze by others also carrying knitting bags.

The BurlyZig, believe it or not, will be larger than this. It will be the same height and just a little wider, but the depth will increase enough so that this can hold a whole sweater in progress or much of an afghan on the needles. Or that is the plan.

Stay tuned and you will get blow by blow information on this design, as it develops further. At this point it’s clear we will have a printed product. We just do not know exactly when…

Whew! One day at a time.

More ColorJoy: Diana’s BurlyZig Bag Base

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

raesburlybase50.jpgWhat a day! I started early and ended late on Tuesday. I go back to my normal schedule on Wednesday. I miss the CityKidz a lot, it will be wonderful to see them again.

Diana wrote with an attached photo of the bottom of her BurlyZig sample bag (which will eventually live at Rae’s Yarn Boutique). The bottom of the bag is checkerboard although the sides are a zigzag pattern. (There are smaller bags in the collection which will call for only two yarns rather than four.)

The base of the bag is made from the dominant Main Color 1, and its appropriate contrast color. The first “zig” will also use these colors, and then the “zag” uses a different Main Color (solid) and a different contrast. Of course the zig/zag pattern is not shown here, though you can have a peek at this previous post.

I’m showing the four yarns she will use in this bag in the yarn photo below. MC1 is top right, and the contrast for it is top left. I think for some folks it’s very hard to tell how things will knit up, by looking at the yarns in balls/skeins. Voila! Diana has solved this particular mystery for you today.



Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

karenyarn.jpgI fell asleep on the couch with the laptop on my lap. The last few days I’ve been too busy and too tired to post much. However, I am happy to report that Diana and Karen are working on their (quite large) BurlyZigBagz right now.

The smaller bagz take one solid colored yarn and one colorway of a slow-self-striping yarn (I am using Noro Kureyon). Some of you have noted that Kureyon does not like to felt/shrink very quickly and the other yarns I’m using with it do.

This is actually good, because the firmly-felted yarns take the Kureyon with them “for the ride.” The resulting fabric, when knitted two stitches of one and then two of the other, is very satisfying and even. Very nice, I assure you, though if they were alternated in wide stripes, the result could be a disaster.

I’m including photos of the yarns used for Karen (blue/green Nashua Creative Focus Worsted for the solids, with contrast Noro Kureyon yarns that add pink to the mix), and Diana (brown/green Patons Classic Wool solids, with Kureyon adding purples to the mix). These include a LOT of stitches but they are moving toward the goal.

dianayarn.jpgFor the record, the solids are used with the contrast they are least like. For example, Karen’s top solid is green, and it is used with the mostly-pink contrast underneath it rather than the almost-matching green/pink top right. If we put the matching ones together, you would not see all the special stitchwork she will be doing. Many people make the mistake of choosing what they call “contrast” but which has a color in common with the solid. It is instinct to match, but it does not work well.

For Diana’s yarns, the dark brown is used with the lighter multicolor, and the lighter green solid is used with the darker multi. This assures that all stitches will show. This is second-nature to me now, but it is not instinct if you are new to colorwork.

(For the record, my yarns were a dark teal contrasted with a mostly-pink multi, and a hot pink contrasted with a mostly-dark-green multi. See small swatch to see it knit up. When I “zig” left I use teal as the base, when I “zag” right I use pink as the solid. Can you see it now? Oh, and the checkerboard is used only for the base of the rectangular bagz.)

biggiezigstitchpatterns16.jpgI am contemplating a larger bottlezig as well… we will see. if the first attempt works, I’ll include it. If I have to fuss I will not continue. I have to cut losses somewhere. This ZigBagZ collection is turning out to be a production, a very time-consuming and yarn-consuming one. It’s worth it, I’m just sure of it, but right now I need a goal.

I bought new editing software for layout. I’ve been using Word for all these years, to make my patterns. I know Word so well (after teaching computer software including Word since 1994), and I was a secretary for years before that.

I “think” in word processing. However, I like to include lots of explanation and often lots of photos. Word is not happy with more than one photo per page. Time to deal with the learning curve and get a proper product.

I bought an Adobe Creative Suite 2 which has InDesign included. My class at Lansing Community College is the last weekend in Otober. By then I should have photos and final input on all sizes/styles of the Ziggies, as Diana and I have been calling them.

So my preliminary guess is that the pattern will be available November 1. This is the current goal.

More peeks at the process as I proceed toward the finish line. For now, sleep (again).

Plugging Along

Friday, September 28th, 2007

zigprototypebottles.jpgLife is full of a zillion relatively-unrelated things, you know?

  • My car is fixed but I have to pick it up tomorrow.
  • It has been relatively painless to be without my Bug because I drove Brian’s “yacht.” He rode his bike to work. I seriously benefitted by being married to this great guy, this week.
  • We had another wonderful musical-performance experience at Foods for Living. What a great store. Great people, great food, great customers.
  • The weather has been gorgeous, the light just glows right before sundown. We should not see rain till Sunday, and I will really enjoy this weekend.
  • I have this weekend without classes. Then I have three weekends on the road, in a row (two strung together with no visit home). I need to bake and otherwise prepare food, clothing and class handouts, etc… this weekend. I feel really luxurious about it on Friday Night. I think Sunday night I’ll be a bit less so, but I’m OK with whatever it is.
  • Diana is knitting sample ZigBagZ (a BabyZig and a BottleZig), I’m editing the text of the pattern. Karen has the yarn for her BurlyZig bag, Diana has her yarn, too, and when the words are set (the numbers are done), they will cast on that largest planned size and see how it goes.

The photo here shows two prototype BottleZig Bagz. Just so you can see how things develop. One has too much green at the bottom and is too tall. I re-felted it and it got less tall but the green was still too big, after this photo was taken.

The other has 8 fewer stitches around the circumference. That one works fine for small 10oz bottles (but not half-liter/16oz bottles). The interesting thing is that they both have exactly the same number of rows of the zig pattern. And I knit both, so the gauge before felting was the same. Can you see why I tear out my hair sometimes, trying to get it so that folks who get my finalized pattern will succeed and love the project? I do love making things up. I’m not so fond of the finalizing-the-pattern part. But hey, every job has something we don’t like about it.

Ahh, Moving Forward at Last

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

biggiezigstitchpatterns16.jpgI think the stars all aligned properly again or something. I have been feeling stuck and now it seems many things went forward at once.

I felted my BiggieZig Bag and Rae says it is “Perfect.” Of course, the artist always sees things that might be done differently. Mostly, though, the things I could have done differently would make it harder to make, for my customers. In the end, they are collectively my “boss” and I do what I can to keep them happy.

I made several executive decisions to minimize hand-sewing, for example. I know that most knitters do not enjoy working with a sewing needle so this one is as simple as I can make it in that area. The bag looks very good, and its size is about perfect. I am more than pleased.

Now Diana can start in on her BurlyZig Bag (bigger yet, than the BiggieZig), and hopefully in a day or two, so can Karen in Houston. Diana is working on the tech end, helping me write the pattern and get the numbers/proportions right. Karen will test it and see if the pattern Diana and I come up with is understandable. Diana and I have worked so many hours on this project now, that she could not be an impartial test knitter any more.

When I went to the PO Box, I found a package from Diana. It contained a BottleZig bag and a Sassy Summer Handbag, both to be felted. The Sassy Bag goes to Yarn Garden tomorrow when I go there for my First-Time Toe-Up class. Right now she has *my* Sassy bag (the blue one with a polymer clay handle, shown on my shopping cart). I will enjoy having my bag back if I can talk her into giving it up.

The BottleZig was supposed to be for Rae’s shop, but she likes the one she has right now very much. We’ll see where this one goes. It has Patons Classic as its solid yarn and Rae is the only one I work for who carries that yarn. Maybe I get to keep it?

But at exactly 11pm Tuesday night I got my invitation to join Ravelry.com. I spent the next 3.5 hours uploading photos and filling out my profile.

My username is ColorJoy (yes, it has capital letters) for those of you out there already. I will work in the next week or so to add projects for every one of my current patterns, as Rae explains this is the place where the rest of the linking starts. I’m learning from Tracy and from Rae a little each day about how it all works. It’s pretty huge, and I know I will not participate in everything. For example, I really do not want to know how many sets of size 0/2mm double-pointed needles I own. Nope, not going there!!!

So many things are happening very quickly now. I was so ready for the change! Thanks for hanging in with me on this. I’m still dealing with photograph issues but other things are going well. At this point I’m giving you a photo of the before-felting fabric of my BiggieZig Bag.

I used two solid colors, the main one being a dark blue-teal, and the second one a hot pink. Then in contrast with the teal I used a Noro Kureyon self-striping yarn that was mostly pinks and oranges. In contrast with the pink I used a Kureyon in dark greens, blues, gray and brown. The effect is that you can not see the “stripes” because the contrast in one stripe is almost the color of the solid in the next stripe.

At the bottom of the photo, you can see the bottom of the bag where I did a checkerboard pattern rather than a zigzag. The checkerboard is the essence of ColorJoy, in my mind. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

Every Emotion in 24 Hours, Ending in Gratitude

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I started the day really emotional, alternating between depression and anger. These are signs that I’m feeling powerless (in this case, about the computer issues and the slowness of the felted bag development). I decided to do something about it.

Actually, there was a time years ago when my life had many more difficult emotions in a day, and reasonably so. These days I’m living a bit of “the sunny side of the street” most of the time. My computer struggles on the same week as a slooow pattern development, meant that I revisited those emotions which mostly pass me by these days.

The first step toward an even keel was that I went to Rae’s shop. Between Rae and Diana I don’t know what I would do when I hit a wall. They take turns encouraging, suggesting, tugging me along depending on the situation. I have been struggling with the handles for this bag. It will be relatively big, enough that a single I-cord would not really be substantial enough, or so it seemed.

I contemplated several possible options but none seemed quite right. The best idea I had was impossible to guess ahead of time, how long it should be and whether I’d like it. I was really uneasy going ahead with something that might disappoint me after all the yarn and knitting time I’ve spent on this bag.

Sometimes I just am not a risk taker, and when it’s about precious time I’m even more “frugal” so to speak than when I’m talking about spending money. I don’t have much time to spare in this crazy creative life I’ve chosen.

So of course Rae had a great strap suggestion. I tried it, I’m delighted, I’m going with it. Yippee.

Diana then called to tell me she had finished two samples for me (a Sassy Bag for Yarn Garden and a BottleZig whose final destination is still undetermined). Sigh. And now she’s working on a BiggyZig for me. Sigh again.

And now Cousin Karen may be the test knitter for BiggyZig or BurlyZig. I feel very loved today.

Oh… and Tracy wrote and said she is already on Ravelry and is volunteer coordinator or whatever they call it for the discussion group about ColorJoy by LynnH patterns. I could HUG Tracy if she only was in Lansing!

So my day turned around. My bag has a button flap that it did not have this morning, and the start of shoulder strap #1 of 2. I may just felt this “puppy” tomorrow. Cross fingers.

Feeling a Bit Better

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

I “knit like the wind” as Brenda Dayne’s knitting podcast Cast-On suggests. It was very helpful. I always say that knitting is a lot like “worry beads” and it was more true today than ever.

I’m working on the moderate-sized project bag in the ZigBagZ series. I finished the bag portion tonight, bound it off. Now I need to knit handles and button flap (which requires some decision-making but I’m up to that challenge). After that, I measure every possible part of the bag, then I throw it in the washing machine and cross all fingers and toes. After it shrinks perfectly (we can only hope), I shape it well, dry it, and measure it.

At that point Diana and I have a conference call and determine how many stitches we think she should cast on for the roomy-sized project bag. And then we see how long it takes to knit that, and felt/shrink that, and determine if we need even more test bags before going ahead. We do have a lot of small bags which were our felting swatches, so it may be that we’re good to go. Or not.

It’s one day at a time, you know? But although I still have no plan about my held-for-ransom photographs on this hard drive, I at least have done some constructive work. I knit fast which used up a bunch of the pent-up adrenaline that made me want to jump to the moon in a single bound. And now I think I’ll go to sleep, and finish my bag tomorrow.

Cross fingers for me. I need all the felting gods and goddesses and vibes and good karma and any other good luck charms I can get, in my corner tomorrow.

By the way, the fabric is reeeeally beautiful. Of course, I took a photo but now I am afraid to download the photo onto the bad-cop computer hard drive. It might not let me have custody of my own work.

I’ll show you more when I get more confidence, or maybe I’ll just start up that old beloved VAIO XP laptop (which still works, though it still makes bad sounds when it’s running). I would love to show you how pretty my colors are this time around.

Slow as Mud

Friday, September 21st, 2007

zigbagbottlezigsmweb.jpgI seem to be walking through mud with heavy boots for the last few days. I’m still working on the design/pattern for my ZigBagZ series.

I have the two smallest bags figured out (a small rectangular one, pictured here in the last week, and the bottle bag at left), though text and photos are still sketchy. The next size up looks like it will probably be something like the size of my Watercolor Bag or hopefully a little bigger. I really wanted a larger size so I am going to add a fourth bag to the collection.

The extra bag means a lot more knitting, a lot more yarn, a lot more waiting, a lot more everything. I’m working on the third bag right now.

As soon as we get gauge issues more settled, Diana will cast on the largest of the four and then knit a loooong time, and then we cross fingers toes and eyes when that one is felted, to see if it comes out the way we wanted it (or close enough to go ahead with the design.

If either of our bags does not work as planned, we start knitting again. With felted projects, you shrink it and then you can’t use the yarn over again as you can on standard knit items. It’s a lot of time and a lot of materials/funds to get things right, but that is just part of the process. I believe in this design so I keep trudging forward, slowly or otherwise.

This is all complicated by the fact that I can not seem to knit any single gauge for more than an hour or two, or at least not when using circular needles (rather than Double Pointed Needles which are what I usually use). Thank goodness Diana can achieve a more steady gauge, and she will no doubt knit the store samples when we get to that phase of the project.

Here is a photo of the finished design for the BottleZig. I like it a lot. This one is a store sample at Rae’s, and I have one that is similar but was a prototype so I get to keep it.

Today I tried over and over to get to this page to post a column for you, and I could not get the form to open fully. Today I also tried to access an educational website and had frustration there as well. More slogging through mud.

The good part was that our performance at Foods for Living was really great. We got there just as Jen Sygit was finishing up her set. It’s always great to see/hear her.

Of course, we got a few photos but I’m behind on downloading those to the computer. After the performance, we went out to dinner all dressed up fancy in our show clothes. That was fun.

More later… have a great weekend. It’s lovely weather here right now and the trees are starting to turn color. Really pretty.