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“Hello Spoonflower World”

Spoonflower Giftwrap from Spatial H

Hello World” is a short hand term for projects techies create while working on a new platform. My new platform? Spoonflower.

The “Hello World” idea is similar to the Minimum Viable Product, “MVP“, for people that know something about marketing, where the learning process involved in getting the first item/program/project/design out into the world takes most of the work. Theory being that once you get this first one done, the rest will follow much easier. I mean, think of all the learning involved with any new thing you’ve tried to do. Procrastination can get the best of you, but giving yourself the one goal to push toward, the “Hello World”, the first product, the first class, etc, you have something achievable and worthwhile.

I started by drawing up a design in Adobe Illustrator. Spoonflower has a nice writeup to learn about loading their available colors into Adobe Illustrator so you know your image will print with colors you can have confidence in.

Getting the repeat right is the crux of the design process. A lot of good information is available on surface design repeats on YouTube.

Once I had my MVP design ready to go I uploaded it, ordered my proof, and waited by my mailbox.

When it arrived I opened up the package and inspected my new fabric, and oh no, a subtle problem: there was a light “aliased” outline on the right and bottom edges of the repeat. It may have been mistaken for wayward white thread if I had left it as it was, but it would bother me not to fix it.

Spoonflower support was very helpful, told me I could edit my file to remove the white outline, re-upload, and release it for publication.

A little Pixelmator, and boom, done.

"Plum Regal" Preview
“Plum Regal” Preview, available at Spoonflower

So now I’m literally in business.

Fixed and uploaded, my first #spoonflower design "plum regal" 🙂

A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

Wish me luck in my new venture.

“Plum Regal” Spoonflower Giftwrap Preview. Their automated illustrations are wonderful.

Please leave a comment if you have any experience with Spoonflower, either sewing or designing with it. And please watch this space for more upcoming designs.

Nerd On,

Heather

 

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Initiate Mitts, a free knitting pattern for beginners

Buy some pretty yarn, wind it into a ball, buy some size 8 knitting needles, and maybe a darning needle for finishing

Then make your first knitting project.

The Initiate Mitts

A free knitting pattern.

>>> Click here to download <<<

Learn how to make these mitts at Craftwork Somerville’s Knitting 101.

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Craftwork, the Octopus. Free Knitting Pattern.

Hey, so my friend, Amy Lou, is opening an awesome DIY/Maker/Classroom/Art space in Somerville, MA called CRAFTWORK SOMERVILLE; and she asked me to teach Knitting 101!

Since new knitters like a project they can show off with their brand new skills, I created a new beginner pattern for you to try.

I would like to introduce you to Craftwork The Octopus.

Craftwork The Octopus

It’s a sweet little octopus to help people learn how to Cast On and Bind Off fearlessly. Knitters are always worried that they are working their stitches too tightly or loosely, and this project lets you do either and the results are that the tentacles simply curve and sway making your octopus look unique.

Practice, practice, practice.

And it’s a free knitting pattern for you to try.

>>> Click here to download <<<

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Introducing Shuffle

  a fun new pattern
♣   each row is decided by the draw of the cards
   every project is unique

Shuffle

The idea came from knitting the “Nuvem” shawl by Martina Behm. I wrote a blog post about it. I had two lovely skeins of yarn, one with twice as much yardage as the other. I racked my brain for a way to distribute the colors evenly without doing regularly spaced boring stripes, but I also didn’t want to run out of the pretty multi-colored yarn before I got to the ruffle edge. Pacing around my home (yes, I truly paced while thinking about this), I spotted two decks of cards on my shelves and, voila, perfect: an easy to carry, easy to randomize, easy to count way of controlling which colorway to knit the next row with.

I have a list of design ideas I am getting out into the world. My first labor of love was the police box shawl, but Hoo*bert is NOT necessarily an easy knit. So I really wanted to get a fun accessible pattern out there next. I used the two to one idea that I knit my Nuvem with, but I wanted to add different stitch patterns depending on the face value of the card. The test knitters all said they had fun knitting it wondering which card would come up next and how it would look next to the previous row. Shuffle can be done with solid colors, or you could knit it with a solid and variagated, similar shades or bright contrasts, it all works. My first shuffle was done with solid worsted weight from Harrisville Designs (they liked it).  My second Shuffle was knit from the two ends of my slowly changing color Loop handspun, and I kinda love it.

What will your Shuffle look like? 😊
Keeping knitting fun,

Heather

P.S. Join my email list to get a $2 discount code. Link is above.

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Squam Art Workshops – Spring 2015

I never wrote a blog post about the Squam Art Workshops before, though I’ve been attending since 2011. I suppose I never knew how to put it all into words: meeting great people, taking intriguing classes, dodging “woo”, and, well, the food.

So, how about some photos…

The lovely work of @supgup & @siercia #squamartworkshops

A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

@mindytsonas had a lovely "dream launcher" for us #squamlove #squamartworkshops

A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

#squamartworkshops #latergram

A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

Our cabin, Cliffside #squamlove #squamartworkshops

A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

@yarnonthehouse is my cabinmate at #squamartworkshops #squamlove living the dream

A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

 

This was on the way to the dining hall, though not done by @supgup and @sierca as I wrote on my original caption.

More @supgup @siercia #squamlove #squamartworkshops awesomeness

A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

 

Working at home later.

 

I also took Gudrun Johnston‘s Short Row class, which was really helpful – I really had no idea there were 4 different ways to do short-rows, and that the one way I knew – turns out I was doing it wrong. I took no photos in this class, as it was a knitting circle, basically. Her designs are beautiful, she had a container full of them where she showed us where she used short rows. Such an inspiration.

But, then, it ends. We say goodbye to everyone at breakfast and we go.

So to console myself on the way home there was a stop at Mr Mac‘s, which really needs to be a national chain.

Mr Mac's on the way home #glutenfree #squamartworkshops

A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

 

But, I mean, this.

Dock at Squam Lake #latergram #squamlove #squamartworkshops

A photo posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

 

thank you, Squammies, for being awesome,

H

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Hoo*bert

My mother told me that when I was a little kid, like 3 or 4 years old, my grandmother crocheted a hat for me.

This is a photo of my grandmother and me, maybe a bit before the incident, I don’t have a photo with the hat.

my grandmother and I

 

While looking through a magazine she saw a little kid wearing a granny square hat, so she made me one. She knit three granny squares, connected them in a row, added ties, and gave me the hat. The thing is, my mother says I wouldn’t wear the hat because my grandmother wasn’t finished with it yet. Evidently I recognized that there needed to be a forth square in the back, stitched to the first three to make a hat shape. My grandmother didn’t realize this, she just knew she had to crochet the ones she saw, she wasn’t thinking about the structure in the back. So, the poor woman went off and made the forth granny square, added it to the back of the hat, and then I wore it. I remember the hat, I remember I liked wearing it. I do not remember sending my granmother back to finish it.

Little kids are cute as a life saving device, I suspect.

This is the grandmother who taught me how to knit, btw. She taught me when I was about 5, having me knit a purple headband (it was the 70s) – 7 stitches across. It bored the bejeezus out of me, so much so that I never finished it. I’d pick it up every few years, having to add a few more rows since my head was bigger (figuratively and physically) every time.

It took until a Boston Ski and Sports Club trip to Italy in 2004 to get me into knitting. I understood it differently at that point. Instead of a headband shaped hole in space, it was the process of knitting that made the hobby interesting. Maybe by then I had lived a life of deadlines at my day job, and sitting down to quiet time to work with beautiful yarn was a reward in itself. (Italy had some gorgeous yarn.)

Since 2004 I have been knitting. And while spending my days working on a team designing computer chips, I would doodle knitwear designs and patterns in my notebook.

About three years ago I had an idea for a shawl design that I couldn’t believe no one had come up with before. The universe needed this, so I have been trying to make it happen ever since.

The idea? Police boxes in a tiled rhombus pattern (I, also, had to look up the name even though I’ve seen a tiled rhombus pattern a thousand times.)

photo and work done by Christina Creevy

I tried and tried to make this concept a reality when I was working, I just couldn’t get it done.

Fortunately, I lost my job last September.

Seriously, I had been planning, nesting, saving, and preparing for a lay off in my office since we were bought by the last company. So when the day came, I was the happiest person in the room. As I walked out I realized other people weren’t happy – at all, so I told them “Don’t worry, I’ll be sad later.” They laughed. They were happy for a minute, anyways; laughing at or with me? I wasn’t sure.

Turns out I lied. It didn’t happen, I wasn’t sad.

I was thrilled. I could finally get this idea on a .pdf and up on Ravelry.

I thrashed around a little bit. I was always driven by adrenalin at the day job, and now I was living with no time restrictions, no place restrictions. Possibility was my restriction. The hardest thing, I found, about leaving corporate America was time management and direction.

Three things helped me get this pattern done.

1. A craftsy class from Miriam Felton.

2. A time tracking tool for my smart phone to make sure I was managing my time wisely.

3. Kate Atherley’s ebook, Pattern Writing for Knit Designers

And, well, here it is. Published.

Hoo*bert, the shawl. Photo by Aram Comjean.

My mother told me the story about the hat when she knew I was publishing my pattern. I think she is proud of me for finally getting these ideas out there in the world now.

I do wish my grandmother knew.

-H

P.S. Special thanks to my test knitters, Christina and Wendy, for invaluable feedback.

P.P.S. I think everyone else on my chip design team got jobs, and I hope everyone is happy in their new situations.

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Patriot’s Day, why I love it here.

After this most difficult winter, we Bostonians have Patriot’s Day. Since mid-April is when we can finally step outside without suffering, here it comes, the celebration of Massachusetts’ contribution to the creation of the United States of America. So glad they waited to start the revolution ’til the weather got good.

You can’t swing a dead cat around these parts without hitting a Revolutionary War Reenactor.

Battle at the Tower #patriotsday #minutemen #regulars #video

A video posted by spatialh (@spatialh) on

 

But I have to say, my favorite thing about all these re-enactors is when you see people in historical clothing mixing in with modern-times. For example, my boyfriend has a photo of a minuteman carrying a leaf-blower, which he really needs to have online somehere.

Or like Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow.

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Here I have this sneak-over-the-shoulder #selfie thing: Minutemen, in line for a port-a-potty.

MunroeTavernSelfie

Priceless. There should be a name for this mash-up of modern and 18th century, a hashtag, something.

 

so anyways

I had driven by Munroe Tavern, where the British set up their field hospital after that first night of the Revolutionary War, a hundred times. This time we finally stopped in. Here are some iPhone photos that I took. (Aram’s awesome photos  are here.)

 

Red coats getting ready for the battle re-enactment at Tower Park

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After the war President George Washington visited the Munroe family for tea, to thank them for all their troubles during this battle. The family saved everything he touched. He sat in that bigger chair in the middle, and the cup he used is in a display case nearby. Gotta love the love people had for the pertinence of these items.

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I would be remiss if I didn’t post a photo of the flax spinning wheel. Making linen from flax was important in the avoidance of buying British cotton goods in the 18th century.

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Inside the Munroe Tavern.

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And here are the lobster-backs getting ready for their part of the re-enactment on the front lawn of the tavern. This Tower Park battle today (Saturday) actually took place after the famous battle of Lexington Green (Monday), they just do it on this Saturday beforehand to get everything done in the weekend.

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So much fun nerdy stuff going on around here right now. Can’t miss it if you try, get out there and see some of it.

Thanks for reading and Nerd On – H

P.S. And if all this isn’t marvelous enough: we finish on Monday with the The Boston Marathon.

MarathonMile18

<3

 

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The 40th Season of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra

The theme for the posters of the 40th anniversary season of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra is: the players.

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6 posters. Big season made tiny to fit in this space.

Photos by Susan Wilson and Aram Comjean

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Random Deal

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Living the knitter’s dream, I went to Rhinebeck in 2013 bought some Miss Babs “Babette” lace. One skein – ALL my favorite colors.

babstosh

That’s Miss Babs in the front, and Tosh lace color “calligraphy” in the back.

“Gorgeous, so what do I knit with it?” I thought. Never did much with laceweight before. Did the old Ravelry search and came up with Martina Behm’s Nuvem. It’s pretty, no lacework that I’d have to pay attention to ‘cuz if I’m knitting 2000 yards of something I don’t want to have to pay attention to it, count, or anything requiring intelligence – this is what my day job is for. (“OCD for Dollars” is how I refer to it, and I sure don’t need the extra brain hurt for my hobby.)

The idea behind the Nuvem is you knit ’til there’s 20% of your yarn left and then do the ruffle. This kind of blew my mind… that 20% of the yarn is in the ruffle. That’s like a country mile around the perimeter when you think you’re almost done.

Though I had the same weight each of Babs and Tosh it turns out the Tosh is thicker with less yardage. I did some rough math and figured I have about TWICE as much yardage of Babs as I do Tosh.  I needed to go around twice on the Babs for each time I went around once on the Tosh to make it work.

Pattern purchased, off I went… one round Tosh, two rounds Babs, one Tosh, two Babs.

I liked it, but it was too uniform for my taste to do the entire shawl this way. About 5 inches of knitting from the center out I decided to change it up, but I needed a way to maintain the one-Tosh::two-Babs ratio so I didn’t run out of one or the other color before I got to the ruffle. I wanted the same ratio with a different more organic distribution.

Hmmm.

Walked around my place, stood for a moment staring at my humble board game collection. And there they were… a deck of red cards and a deck of blue cards.

52 red cards mixed with 26 blue cards, shuffled roughly together, would give me an approximate model of my yarn amounts,

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with a more organic looking distribution than how I started out in the center.

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2::1, right? yep.

I commited to this progression. I wrapped an elastic band around the cards to secure them, and threw the deck into my project bag. When a red card came to the top of the deck I would knit a round with Babs. When a blue card came to the top I would knit a round with Tosh.

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I made it through the 78 (52 + 26) rounds and still hadn’t gotten to my 20% left. Figuring I wanted the colorful Babs for the ruffle I did a simple large swath of the Tosh “calligraphy” color to set off the ruffle.

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I kind of love how it came out.

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And about that 20%. I used a $3 postal scale that I bought off ebay on a recommendation that I got from a knitter friend who also quite enjoys smoking pot, and, I learned, she can evidently use the postal scale for either hobby as both often need accurate measurements of quantities less than 4 ounces.

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I had previously only understood that this scale was good for measuring envelopes and yarn, it took another savvy knitter to explain to me what most people use this little gadget for and why they are so readily available on the internet.

So there’s that.

Anywho, live and learn.

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But yeah.

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Nuvem means cloud in Portuguese. That’s truly what it feels like to wear.

randomdeal   14312385982_5b329e3474_z

thanks for reading.

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P.S. So get this, still living the knitter’s dream I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few Squam Art Workshops, including this last one in Spring 2014. Turns out I finished this Nuvem in the nick of time to give the designer of this lovely pattern a lift up to New Hampshire from the airport. Turns out she’s lovely too.

Here’s me and my Hitchhiker, Martina Behm, returning from N.H.

MeAndMyHitchhiker

Click here for a link to Martina’s post about her own Squam experience.

be well. – H

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2014 May 31 Appalachian Spring

2014May31AppSpring2

For the last masterworks concert of the 2013 – 2014 season the CSO is playing the lovely peaceful Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland.

Mountains. Forest. Quiet.

Maybe I have a photo that would suffice. Like something I took at Rockywold Deephaven Camps while attending the Squam Art Workshops.

2014May31AppSpring2

Yep, it was just like that. Peaceful.

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This mini one for the newspaper.

Concert tonight! Please come.

 

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Sledding Cowl

Sledding Cowl

March 2016: Free cowl pattern updated to include both worsted weight and bulky yarn!

 

The Sledding Cowl modeled in worsted weight by Amy Lou of Craftwork Somerville
The Sledding Cowl modeled in worsted weight by Amy Lou of Craftwork Somerville

 

 

2014:

My first design from 2010 made it to my new website at last. I created this pattern to wear while dog sledding on a winter trip to Quebec. My experience with winter sports has taught me not to wear scarves skiing or sledding, cuz you never know what might grab an end and a) make you lose your scarf or b) strangle you.

Trust me, a cowl is the way to go.

Sledding Cowl

Click here for the free Sledding Cowl PDF