Dear Abby for Knitters!
I’m so excited to announce my new column for KNITstyle magazine. The magazine has been totally reinvented by the new editor Cari Clement, and I’m so proud to be a part of it . . . but I need your help. I need letters from you amazing knitters out there.
Coming soon in KNITstyle magazine! A new knitter’s advice column called “Patty’s Purls of Wisdom.” We are looking for great, funny, interesting e-mails to feature from great knitters. We are here to talk about ANYTHING: techniques, tips, how-tos, knitting etiquette, lifestyle questions, you name it. Doesn’t matter how silly you think it is (in fact, we encourage the silly, as it helps us keep our life in perspective).
– What’s the best short row method for a scarf?
– What are the tricks to keeping your sanity when knitting lace?
– How do you avoid killing your spouse when he moves your shawl off the couch making your delicate stitches slip off the needle and your stitch markers tumble to the floor?
Please write them in letter form, just like the old letter’s to Dear Abby. We’d love to feature the full letter in the column, not just the questions, so have fun with it! Let’s all learn from each other and let’s start talking knitting! So e-mail your questions to:
We look forward to reading your letters, and stay tuned for the first column of “Patty’s Purls of Wisdom.”
Contacts for Knit Style mag:
5 Best and Worst Things About Working From Home
Image from Empower Network
About a half a year ago, I made the amazing leap to become a full time knitting teacher and knitwear designer. It’s been an crazy ride with some pretty bendy learning curves. My plan for starting slow did not work (not complaining), so I had to scramble to get my systems in place. In the last six months I’ve:
- Finished 10 sweaters, 2 shawls, 2 cowls, 1 hat and 1 wrister design for magazine & book publication
- Taught at 5 knitting shows
- Taught at 3 knitting guilds
- Taught at 2 knitting shops
- Attended 2 trade shows
- Taught 1 online webinar
and a partridge in a pear tree . . .
Here’s some things I’ve learned about working from home (drum roll please)
5 Best Things About Working From Home
5 Worst Things About Working From Home
|5. Spend less money on metro card.
I know, does not seem like a big savings, but it really is!
4. No annoying corporate meeting where nothing gets done.
3. I can listen to whatever music I want. Pandora has become my best friend. She can really surprise me with her odd choices.
2. You never have to go out in the terrible winter weather.
and the # 1 best thing about working from home
1. Pants optional!
|5. Spend more money on firewood.
Especially this winter, I’m already on my second firewood delivery
4. No stopping by offices of your favorite people.
3. Neighborhood noises.
2. You never leave the office.
and the # 1 worst thing about working from home
1. Pants optional!
* annoying sound provided here
Audio version of a sharp stick in the eye!
What are your top 5 best and worst things about your work place. Let me know!
Catch up blogging part two . . . when last we left our heroes . . .
Jan began with TNNA our annual trade show. It’s a great time to reconnect with your business contacts, you friends, see all the new yarns and fashion trends coming in the Spring.
My first official appointment was on Friday for the Teacher Meet and Greet. This is an event where all the national knitting teachers sit at a table, and in a bizarre shop owner version of speed dating, folks walk up and down the tables sussing us out.
Here’s my nutty friend Melissa Leapman and I amusing ourselves with a selfie in the slow times
I decided to come a day early and take the rare treat of being a student. I took two classes that were like the designers yin and yang, art and science. First I took my pal Lily Chin’s draping class. I’ve really wanted to break out of the flat pattern drafting world I’m in, to the 3-D world of draping. I immediately came home and started shopping for an adjustable dress form – of course the problem is, I have NO space for it. ah well. I did put the theory into practice when I got home by draping an old t-shirt on myself to design a neck line for a new sweater. I can’t show any pics because it’s not published yet. It was such an interesting experiment, once it’s published, I’ll write a blog about the whole trip from sketch to weirdly draped t-shirt, to swatch, to pattern, to garment.
In the afternoon I took on the science part with an excellent class on Excel taught by my other pal, Edie Eckman. This was the perfect companion to the draping class. I use Excel for pattern grading (changing the size of the garment), but knew I would learn some new tricks from Edie. Better than the tricks was seeing how Edie uses excel to help her think through the pattern. I use it in a very similar way when I grade, but she had a spin on the “if this, than that”, way of thinking that was really great.
Saturday was spent in meetings and walking the sales floor collecting all sorts of wonderful new yarns for swatching . . . now all I need is a moment to play.
One of my favorite things about walking the floor was discovering my own designs hanging in booths. Not going to lie, that was kind of a thrill. Here I am geeking out over seeing my sweater at the KnitStyle booth:
Geek out #2 came at seeing my design hanging up at the Vogue Knitting booth:
Vogue Knitting Live New York
Speaking of Vogue Knitting, shortly after getting home from TNNA it was time for one of my all time favorite times of year, Vogue Knitting Live New York! I love all my teaching shows (mother loves all her children equally), but there’s a special place in my heart for VK Live NY, as it’s in my own hometown and it was the first big national show I ever worked.
I arrived before the sun was up. An unique experience in Times Square
I hardly took any pictures, or in fact did anything but eat, sleep and teach. I had a wonderfully, crazily full schedule and rocked a record (for me) of 20 hours of teaching in 3 days! Here’s a few shots from my classes.
Catch up blogging . . . Part One
2014 is starting out to be an insanely busy time. This being my first year as a full time knitting teacher and knitwear designer (goodbye office hours and subway commute – yippe!), I’m still learning where the crazily busy time are. October / November was one of them. Holy Kermoly, did I feel shot out of a canon in October . . . The Knit and Crochet Show, Houston Knitting Guild, Interweave Webinar, three designs due, Vogue Knitting Live Chicago, Stitches East and to top it off, my two Craftsy classes launched!
December was lovely. No traveling, not one business trip! Just time to catch up on working on the designs that were due, meeting up with friends, eating great meals and knitting by the fire.
The end of December David (the hubby) and I headed up the Hudson with three of our friends for a brilliant 3 day get away in a perfect house by a lake. I packed up a giant bag of yarn (for the many projects and proposals that were due) and we brought wine, games and food . . . the ingredients for a perfect weekend.
This was the view that greeted us each morning:
The trip was exactly what I needed after such a busy fall, there were walks in the woods by the icy Hudson
We took an amazing walk, during the magic hour, to a lighthouse and marveled at the sight and sound of the ice breaking up on the Hudson, followed by a perfect sunset, and warming ourselves by the fire (note the glass of wine by the fire!)
This was just the rest I needed before being shot out of cannon # 2, called Jan / Feb in this biz . . . more about that in the next installment of – “Tales of a Traveling Knitting Teacher: TNNA & Vogue Knitting Live”
Last Minute Gifts for Knitters (pt. 2)
A few days ago I started to write about my Gift List for Knitters. I realized I had a LOT of things I loved, so here’s part two!
Everything listed in this blog are items I own* and adore. Since I have quite a few things I adore, this will be part one, stay tuned for more later this week.
So, in no particular order, here are a few MORE of my favorite things:
This little marvel arrived at my house a few days ago. The inventor, Julie Weisenberger (the inventor of another one of my favorites of all time – The Knitter’s Blocks) was nice enough to send it to me. It’s an ingenious little magnetic wrist band and all the handy notions that always end up in the cushions of my couch. I gave it a test run and I loved it. The first thing I loved is that the wrist band itself (also magnetic) could wrap around, even my ridiculously tiny wrist. The magnet is really strong. I was using the small stitch markers and I dropped one. I couldn’t see it in my rug, so I just kind of waved my wrist towards the floor & up it flew in the magnet – super cool!
Anyone who’s taken my blocking class knows of my affection for my knitter’s blocks. I bought my set in 2007 and it’s holding up beautifully. It’s all I use to block and I love them!
Speaking of blocking . . . since I generally travel everywhere with my knitting (and that included quite a bit of subway riding) I always like to wash my knits in a proper wool wash before I block them. I’ve been a user of Soak for many years, but in October I saw the Soak booth at Rhinebeck and I noticed a new product called Flatter. It was supposed to be for fabrics and for spraying before ironing. Hmmm, I thought, when we knit we make our own fabric, so I’m going to try this for spray bottle blocking my knits. It works great. It didn’t leave any residue or sticky feeling, but it helped relax the fibers nicely.
There’s nothing worse than having rough skin catch on your knitting. I have several solutions at hand to get me through the winter. Two of my favorites are listed here. The first one is this little lotion bar. Since it’s a solid, I feel okay about having it in my knitting bag. No need to fear any tragic bottle or jar breakage. Plus, I love the it leaves my hands almost water proof!
For sheer knitter’s love, nothing beats having skin care products coming right from the animals we love. Long Island Livestock company created a line of lotions, salves, soaps and (my favorite) lip balm that are full of sheepy goodness. I love my honey lip balm that smells like honey scented sheep. Which, before you ask, is a good thing.
Someone once asked me for a knitting book recommendation. This is nearly impossible, as there are SOOO many books I love. Just this year alone has added some brilliant design books to my collection. However, I have a special place in my heart for the only knitting book that actually lives on my coffee table. That’s Vogue Knitting: the Ultimate Knitting Book. I realize this may be, at least in part, a sentimental and emotional choice. I remember when I first bought it. I was still working on Broadway at the time. The book had not been out for long, and it was just when I was beginning to think seriously about “wouldn’t it be great if somehow I could earn money knitting” . . . and the rest is history. No really, it’s not, but anyway, it’s a great book and a must have for anyone’s knitting library.
This has not even scratched the surface of the many amazing gifts out there for knitters, so go forth and shop for the knitters in your life – they deserve it!