Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

An Update

June 15, 2013

It has been awhile, a very long while, since I have posted here. I hope your knitting has been going well. My breast cancer came back , not in the breast but brain bone and lung. I had a chest x-ray not long ago and it didn’t show any lesions, whereas before starting chemo I had a pet scan Medieval Dresswhich showed them. I am feeling good though, today is the  best day I have had in several weeks, thank God.  I can say I have missed my creative side. My mind was so fuzzy. I knew I was feeling better when I  was going through some yarn and ideas started to flood my mind, and I was pulling yarn .  Healing is an interesting process. One of the things I have found interesting during this process is LARP’s (Live Action Role Play, it is a game where you have a character you develop that you act out). There is one in Michigan that I thought looked like fun. I found out about it through some friends I met that LARP. Creativity can come in many ways, and I enjoy how my own creativity is stimulated by other types of and others creativity. This LARP is KANAR and is set in a medieval time period.

I was planning on going to weeklong right before TNNA, but with my cancer coming back being fuzzy headed and mobility have been issues. I ended up having radiation to my brain for 10 sessions, then after that they started chemo. By the time I started chemo, I needed to use a walker as it was painful to walk. Then after the first cycle of chemo my blood counts took a nose dive, I ended up getting platelets and two units of blood, and being in the process of getting pain medicine managed so that my mobility is not gone. That has been an issue for me, because of the bone cancer. Walking has been difficult because of bone pain. Now it is much better, the medicine is getting fine tuned and I am making progress.

It was pretty scary for me when I was fuzzy headed as it affected my creativity. One thing that I was thankful for with  looking at going to the LARP weeklong was that looking at the medieval dresses was very stimulating creatively. So was planning the story of my character.  I find that when I am in a slump looking at things outside knitting can flood me with new ideas for knits. Don’t be afraid with your knitting to look at things OUTSIDE knitting, for inspiration. you may see color combinations you like, textures, silhouettes, drape, line, the list goes on. Color I suppose is the most obvious but enjoy the things around you with an open mind and eye as to what is beautiful to you. You can apply this to your knitting and it will empower you.

To my family and friends, I love you so very much. Thank you for all you do for me.

To my knitting friends who have been praying for me or sending good karma my way, thank you so much! I am making progress and I appreciate what you are doing for me. Please keep it up!

To my friends at week-long, I wish you a happy and full week. I am so sorry I could not join you.

To those going to TNNA, I am sorry I will miss you there. Next-year my goal is to be there.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene

The Design Process

July 8, 2011

I realize this is a very broad title. I have just today finished a design going into a book for SoHo Publishing, publishers of Vogue Knitting. I normally don’t work under a deadline as I am frequently sick and we are renovating. But from time to time I do projects that go in a book or magazine and I have to ramp things up a notch and move at a different pace.

The process of creating a design from conception to completion is rather like giving birth. It is thrilling, challenging, and exhausting. There are labor pains along the way. And when you hold it in your hands you can forget about those pains.

This little garment I have been working on is a baby sweater that has been fraught with little difficulties. I had trouble getting gauge to be consistent between swatch and garment, from flat to in the round, and from double pointed needle to circular. Of course, since I am an extremely loose knitter minute changes are amplified in my knitting.

In the end, I did probably 10 swatches, did the sleeves twice, and redid the yoke 4 times altogether. It is awfully cute and will be two days late. Of course this is with communication with SoHo. I would much rather have a design done the way I feel it needs to be done and if it works with the publisher’s time frame be two days late, than rush it through and not be right. Or done not as good as I know it can be.

It has been a draining process. In all honesty, I have worked on little else and am looking forward to working on some hat designs I have in mind. My mind feels like jello at the moment but when I look at it, I am so proud of how cute it is. And I do feel very satisfied. When the book is due to come out I will post pictures. The name of the design  is Garden Party.

My distributor would like me to design more baby things, perhaps I will add more to my line we shall see.

As for this little project…one more read through the pattern, package it up and it is a wrap.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

Barton Park: Colinton Angoras, Colinton 2000 Lace Weight

May 14, 2011

I just finished a new design in time for TNNA in June. It is a triangular shawl worked from the back neck down. The shawl was actually inspired by a call for submissions from one of my favorite publishers, who is doing a Jane Austen themed publication. I chose Sense and Sensibility, as we have the movie and I enjoy the story. This is one of her first (maybe the first published) novels. In the movie, the Dashwood sisters wear these beautiful everyday shawls, and so I decided to do a shawl utilizing some very old stitch patterns.

Barton Park, by JoLene Treace

Barton Park

I had participated in the Great Wall of Yarn for TNNA last June, and swatched the design in Colinton 2000 from Colinton Angoras.

Many designers I know help knit swatches for the Great Wall of Yarn, a special display at TNNA (the June trade show). It gives the shop owners and industry attendees an opportunity to see the yarns in the display worked up, and it gives the designers more visibility.

I was delighted when I received Colinton Angoras lace weight to swatch, as I had asked for lace weight yarn. I had not picked a yarn for this design yet. they liked the swatch and the result is that I have found another wonderful company to work with.

The yarn has a beautiful luster, and is springy and lively. It is amazing how it looks when blocked compared to when knit. When the knitting is in progress in any lace, you have to see it pinned out to appreciate it’s’ beauty. The yarn itself felt nice in the hand and was easy to work with. I have other ideas in mind for this yarn, and will of course share them here when they are done.

I pinned it out to 72 inches wide along the top of the shawl, and 33 inches from the top to the bottom point.

When Will the Army Pay Retirement?

October 19, 2010

This is a short post, and I beg your indulgence for straying from the topic of knitting. My husband was recently on active duty for a couple years and passed his mandatory retirement age. So, he was “retired”.

Here we are, 4 months later, and he still has not received his orders. He still is not receiving his pension. He cannot drill because he is past the mandatory retirement age, nor can he volunteer to be on active duty. No orders have been cut.

When he first came home there was a back and forth between his original home unit and one in San Francisco as to who owned him and who was responsible to cut his orders. That took some time to track down. Oh yes, it was his original home unit.

Then someone told him he had to fill out a form so they could have proof he was eligible to retire. Hmmm, they should have known that. It was the Army who mandated his retirement after all. They had to get that information somewhere. Presumably the clerk in Indianapolis would have access to the same information.

He had his packet started and lost, started and re-done, and done again.

I am beginning to wonder just what it will take to get that several months back pay the government now owes us. Without interest.

We have contacted our Senator’s office three times. And the word from the individual working on his packet in the Army, as of today is: “Sir, I am going to start your packet over again and do it from scratch because of the problems with your packet”.

Which means probably another month.

Did I mention that there are liaisons that handle problems like this? Scary isn’t it, as that would indicate that this happens too frequently.

I have some sort of hope though I know it is not likely, that this story will go viral. It is shabby treatment of anyone who has served our country to have to repeatedly fill out paperwork that is already in the hands of those who control their pension, and wait months on end for income that they have worked hard for.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

Knitting Mojo: Getting Your Groove Back

July 19, 2010

I could talk about how my life has been a difficult one for me in many respects over the last couple years, but really how is my life different from anyone else? We all have things in our lives that are stressful, or times in our lives that are just plain rough.

I know knitters handle these periods in their lives in different ways: some turn to difficult projects to absorb and trap their minds. A distraction if you will. Others turn to simple projects that don’t demand more out of them. Others cannot turn to their knitting at all, and are disturbed that the call of needle and yarn has seemingly left them.

We all have times in our lives where burn out can approach. It is important to remember that the things you love are not a chore. And how you handle the things in your life that you do for yourself is completely in your control.

It goes back to knowing what kind of knitter you are and ultimately what is important to you. And not being afraid to give yourself what you need in that moment.

Knitting, as any other way we choose to spend our time or cope with stress, can be very positive (or not a very effective way to cope). It all depends on the choices we make. As in knitting itself it boils down to self-awareness giving us the best choices.

When I feel like my batteries are drained, I like to do things that are creative that don’t have any strings attached to them. Creativity unfettered by constraints of designing for anyone or anything. Gardens, architecture, artwork, nature…these are all things in unrelated media that refresh my creative world. It is hard to create in a vacuum, and looking at others artists work can be very liberating in the flow of thought and ideas. Not to mention just helping to feel centered and connected to what is around me.

I hope, if you are having trouble finding your groove right now, that you are able to feed your soul with what it needs.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene

Knitting Mojo

June 16, 2010

Recently I went to TNNA. For those on Ravelry, you may have seen some of the feed from the trade show, or you may have heard of it from other sources. The big summer trade show in Columbus, Ohio is always interesting and fun. In many ways it stimulates in ways other shows do not, as the yarn companies feature what is new and trends in the market can be seen and touched.

For me these things are a boost to my creativity, but what I love most is seeing people who have become friends that I don’t get to see much. It has been longer than I thought since my last post. In many ways my life can be hectic, just like anyone else. We all have our own stresses in our lives that can affect our “knitting mojo”.

It is hard to feel creative if you live in a vacuum. So too it is hard to enjoy things in your life that you normally enjoy. I hope that you are all well and that you are taking time to send a little love your own way.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

Anatomy of a Mitten (Or Mitts)

October 7, 2009

Recently I was contacted by a knitter who had some questions regarding the construction of my Wine and Roses Mitts. I could tell by her question that she either did not have experience with charts, or with basic mitten construction or perhaps even both. Which is why I decided to write this post. While my patterns are not designed on their own to teach a concept or technique, Mittens themselves are not really complex.

If you look your hand, you can see essentially a tube at your wrist, and then where your your hand joins, it is significantly wider. There are different methods for accommodating this difference in width.  Another area where you will see an obvious need for an increase in stitches is at the thumb. Again, there different methods for accommodating the difference in width caused by the difference in width the thumb generates. Once you are past the thumb, it is straight to the top of the mitten where the top is handled again in different methods.

Essentially, these are the steps a pattern will take you through:

1. Knit the cuff.

2. Begin the body of the mitten, also begin the thumb gusset (widen at the base of the thumb to accomodate the extra width at the thumb unless knitting folk mittens that do not have thumb gussetts, such as Latvian or Norwegian Mittens).

3. Knit the body of the mitten, up to the number of added stitches needed for width of thumb. If working mittens that do not have thumb gussetts, such as Lavtian or Norwegian Mittens, this is where stitches for the thumbs get put on hold. Put stitches for thumb on hold and continue with the body of the mitten. When length for the body of the mitten is reached, finish the top according to the pattern.

4. Place thumb stitches that were on hold on needle, and pick up additional thumb stitches as instructed and finish thumb according to pattern.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

Knitted Gifts by Ann Budd: Animal Crackers Errata

July 25, 2009

I have had two delightful knitters email me regarding a couple things that had apparently dropped off the directions for this design, the last bit of the directions for the garment back and then there was a question regarding the finishing directions.

First, here is the bit left off on the garment back:
It should read “Maintaining selvedge sts, work Rows 1-4 of spot patt across center 81 (89, 97) sts 18 (20, 22) times (The schematic on page 112 does give the measurement). This has been verified by both Ann Budd and the tech editor, so this is the official version for the book.

I have not seen the book yet outside of TNNA, as I have not received my copy yet, but it has been relayed to me that instructions are missing on the finishing of the hem. I don’t know how it is worded in the book yet. When I get the book and or hear back from Ann (I will be emailing her today) I will update this post. At any rate, There is a line of yo, k2tog worked across the row in the contrast color in the hem. This is the fold line for the hem. It will fold naturally there, and creates a sweet little scalloped edge. Worked in the contrast color it gives the effect of just the scallops themselves being in the contrast color. The hem is whip-stiched in place, taking care not to constrict the fabric. For the sake of the continuity of the book, however, there will be stylistic wording that they use. As I said when I get the official word I will post it here.

When I have both I will add it to my FAQ and Errata page on my website.

I want to thank these two knitters for their kindness and gracious way in which they contacted me. In some communities, errors such as this are cause to heap accusations on the publisher and designer. In reality, everyone has worked hard to bring a fine book to press and sometimes things happen, or they get missed. It is unfortunate, but it happens. Thank you for bringing this to my attention in a respectful and friendly manner. We were both able to have our dignity intact and I so appreciate that. I also appreciate the fact that the same courtesy was extended to Interweave. I am as always proud to be part of their publications.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

Black Bunny Fibers Flutter Laceweight

July 16, 2009

I met Carol at TNNA in Columbus this past June when having dinner with Julia of Pattern Fish. We had a blast, and we ate dinner at the Schmidt Restaurant and Sausage Haus in German Village, minutes from the Convention Center. T’he highlight of the Dinner was (besides the excellent food and fine company of course) the tuba and accordion players playing Freebird at Carol’s request. Carol gave me her card and I contacted her after TNNA regarding some lace designs I am working on.

I am swatching with a skein of the Flutter Laceweight, a very nice 80% Merino / 20% Silk blend. I really like the yarn, it has just enough silk in it to give it a different hand than “plain old wool”, not that there is anything wrong with that, there isn’t, and there is beauty in those too, but sometimes you just want something with a little more in it. The silk adds to the drape of the finished lace. It has a very nice hand as well. It knits up nice, the colors are pretty, and while it is more varigated than what I am used to (look at my designs and you will see that handpaint is a departure for me, although Squirrel Moneky in Interlacements Toasty Toes is a semi solid type of Handpaint). The colors are more suited to lace than many other handpaints out there, so that you can see the stitch patterns. Carol did a good job with that.

Now, as to what I am swatching. I am happy to say as soon as I saw the yarn I knew I had to swatch the design I had worked on for my Grandmother when she passed away, Whisper My Name. I had not found the right yarn for this very special design. The yarns were all too fine, or too thick, or too fancy, or too plain. The colors were not right. Too this or too that. When I opened the package and saw the yarn, I knew I wanted to try it in this design. Sometimes it just works that way, it just tells me it wants a particular yarn and I am not happy with it in something else.  I have swatched it in probably 4 other laceweight yarns, all perfectly lovely yarns but ones I was not happy with for this design.

My Grandmother was very special to me. She was a loving woman, who never had a bad word for anyone. She was a strong woman, and was a profound influence on her children and grandchildren. She touched our lives and we miss her greatly. We treasure our memories of her, and are deeply grateful for the values that she taught us. She was an amazing woman.  I wanted a lace piece to remember her by as it seemed fitting, and it was a good way to work through my own grieving. And I wanted it to be either a stole or a shawl, so that I could wrap myself up in it, like wrapping myself up in her memory, her warmth, her love. Like the memory of her hug.

I think she would love the stole. I chose elements that I felt reflected not only her personality but our family as well, and the many colors fit that well too. There are a lot of us when we are all together. Over 30 just with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins…not including the Cousin’s Spouses or Children. And we have so many different interests and talents. Yet my Mother’s family is a close one, a loving one…Grandma was a good teacher. In the end, the hospice nurses were amazed at how well cared for she was. Even in her last days, her Sons and Daughters tended her well. There is a verse in the Bible that talks about a three-fold cord not being easily broken, and that is certainly true. We draw strength from each other in difficult times. And even in times that are hard, joy does come in the morning.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

As Good As It Gets

June 26, 2009

This is as good as it gets…glad I know Photoshop and Illustrator. If any of you have seen my blog over the last hour or so you may have seen it change in front of your eyes. The title was hard to read so I changed the header in Illustrator by putting in my own title. Then of course, I couldn’t use any color I had to experiement and see what I liked best and of course in the end I went with black and white for the fill and outline. It is what the other text in the rest of the blog has. Nice that the theme has the choice of hiding the text if I want, so that I had the option of putting my own title on my image and saving the file that way.

I really should get dressed.

I have other things to do now, so will bid you all a fond good day.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace