Here are your angry eyes!

Each time I picked up this hat to work on it, all I could hear in my head was the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 2 (thanks to the all-day post Thanksgiving marathon). “I’m packing your angry eyes!” This hat was a test knit for Cambria Washington. The pattern is well written and there are size options for babies through adults using different needle and yarn combinations. There are several eyebrow choices as well. Nate needed a new hat, and she still needed the toddler size tested! I used Rowan Calmer, which I love – it’s got a bit of stretch, and makes for a warm hat. It’s the same colors as Nate’s Brick Rolled sweater. So, what do his “angry eyes” look like? A lot like his happy eyes, little ham! Eyebrow hat
Actually, the first photo I shot was probably the best, but I didn’t have any settings ready so it’s very grainy and I’m not going to waste the space on it.
Like his sister, he’s got grabby hands when it comes time to wear a hat, so this is not going to ultimately cut it for this winter. This kid still needs a hat that ties under his chin. Or one of those hood / cowl versions.

Spice Road Cap – Unwrapped

I feel like so many of my knitting projects lately have been under wraps, that is the way of it when you knit for others. One of the projects I recently test knit has been released, so I can share it here!
Presenting TECHknitter’s Spice Road Cap:
Spice Road Cap - Front
Straight from the Ravelry pattern page:

Spice Road Cap is knit flat, all in one piece and shaped via short rows. Although the cap is seamed, there is no needle-and-thread sewing. Instead, the welt is constructed using slip stitches and the back seams by a three-needle-bind-off, while the lower brim is added by means of picked-up stitches.

Spice Road Cap - side
I especially enjoyed knitting this hat with such a unique (and easy!) construction. The pattern is chock full of information about why you would use a technique or stitch (reminded me of the tv show “Good Eats”!). I used a hand-dyed worsted weight yarn from Romney Ridge Farm.
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Yarn Along – Jan 11

From small things:
~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~
Yarn Along - January 11
I finished up book #2 of The Hunger Games, “Catching Fire”, which I really enjoyed. Then I was stuck. I borrowed the book from amazon on my kindle (yay!), but their fine print only allows you to borrow one book each month (boo!). Jokingly I complained to my husband and on facebook. I suppose I could have gone to the library and actually gotten the book, but I was lazy. Lucky for me a friend on facebook had the book on her kindle and was able to loan book #3, “MockingJay”, to me. As expected, even early on I am hooked and very curious to see how this series plays out.

I have been working on several items that at this point in time I can’t share with you. That’s one of the downsides of being a sample knitter or test knitter, the designs are under wraps for a while. The sweater I was working on for Lorna’s Laces is finished, blocked and currently en route to Chicago. I believe it will be on display at TNNA. I also took on a quick little knit sweater for an upcoming book.

The yarn shown in the picture above is also for sample and test knitting. The red is for a hat and the bottom cake is for a pair of socks. Yay for knitting work, but I am certainly going to try and squeeze in some of my personal projects again so I have something to show on the blog. Otherwise, you’ll just get baby / kid pictures. Like this one:
Day 5

Professional Test Knitter

I am way behind on blog reading, thanks to a certain little nutmeg who seems to be sleeping through the night (*knock on wood that I didn’t just jinx myself!!*). I do make sure to read blogs of my Ravelry friends and fellow knitters. Did you catch the YarnHarlot‘s post about professional test knitting?

I test knit. I sample knit. I have done this for friends, for designers and for yarn companies. I have been compensated in some way or paid for my work, fairly, and the resulting work is quite good, if I do say so myself. For me, there are many positives to this sort of work – I get to work with yarns I might not usually choose, on patterns that I probably wouldn’t pick – it is good to expand my experiences. Each project also usually brings me a chance to learn or improve on a new skill. Even the most enjoyable jobs have the occasional downside and test / sample knitting certainly can have those moments, but it doesn’t keep me from doing it.

Here’s some of the work I have done: My Samples and Tests

I have put “Sample / Test Knitter” on my resume. I have worked with several well known names in the business. This sort of work requires me to work independently, sometimes with little direction, on a deadline and requires efficient communication. I would love to be “certified” as a test / sample knitter. I wonder if going through that “Master Knitter” program would be the closest thing? In the meantime, I will keep on knitting for my companies, I will keep on making friends with designers, and I will keep my eye on Ravelry and Twitter for test and sample knitting opportunities. Anyone hiring? I’m available!

That time of year

I love that New England is finally feeling like fall – the nights are cool, people are generally cheery and not bitter about the weather yet, and working with wool is nice again! I finished a test knit of a cowl that I look forward to wearing. We will ignore the portion of the weather forecast that says this weekend it will be in the 70s / 80s.
Tartan cowl
The “Tartan” cowl by Caryl Pierre is soon to be released. I used O-Wool Classic in blue and O-Wool Balance in grey. I love how this cowl is shaped – it will sit nicely on your neck under a jacket collar to keep you warm, no gaps! It is large enough to pull up to your nose, or fold over and set in place with a shawl pin (gotta get me one of those, maybe at Rhinebeck!).

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Jackson was less than impressed, but the colors look nice on him.

The Funky Chicken is Nate’s chair buddy – I think this photo is one of the best ones we have of him – his eyes are open, he’s not crying, and there is the hint of a smile.
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Most of the other photos he looks like this:
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At least Lorelai seems a bit more game to take photos again.

On the house & In the Mail

Today I spotted something special on the house when I was giving Jackson a bathroom break –
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Up there, on the roof – a hawk!
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We frequently see them flying around, this is the first one I’ve spotted on the roof!

After that surprise, there was a surprise in my mailbox as well.
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A pattern booklet, Simplicity Volume 2 – Women’s. I had almost forgotten about this job – I test / sample knit a sweater for it with Simplicity HiKoo yarn.
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I knit the blue one in the middle. It was a fun knit and the end result was cute – I was able to fit the Medium size, and I knit the one with 3/4 sleeves (this was back in Novemeber, 2010)
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I am glad I can finally share that project!

Pattern Update – Girly Socks!

Remember those Girly socks I blogged about last week or so?
Test Knit Sock
The pattern is live! Emma is available on Ravelry and etsy – and comes in sizes from toddler through grown-up!
Jackie is a great designer – she talks about the sock on her blog here.

FYI, I got gauge (10st / in) with Malabrigo Sock – wonderful yarn for this pattern! Don’t let the gauge scare you off – it’s such a nice fabric! The cast on seems a little intimidating (there’s just a lot of stitches) but there is a quick decrease that follows.