Archive for the ‘designing’ Category

Seth Godin, Backwards

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

From May’s New York Creative Mornings talk:

(if you have twenty minutes to spare for inspiration.)

Bits that resonate with me:

  • You don’t get tomorrow over again, you don’t get next week over again—one shot.
  • Make change in a way that creates more difference.
  • “I’m no longer sure what the question is, but I do know the answer is ‘Yes.'” Leonard Bernstein



Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

I haven’t really updated the look of this site much since I launched the domain. Tweaked the words in the sidebar, here and there, but that’s it.

Back in 2009, while watching a documentary about the font Helvetica, the idea for a hizknits logo came to me. I sketched it out for a friend and designer at work, and within less than an hour, I had my own visual identity! Mark is responsible for adding in the “bathroom” guy and making the whole thing look amazing.

Just as my knitting has progressed from my first 2×2 chunky hat back in 2004, it was time to remove the old photo-based banner (which was a detail of that first hat). I’ve finally changed the header to “my” logo. If you view the non-mobile version of this site (not in an RSS feed), you can see what I’m talking about in the upper right corner.

Never would I have predicted where knitting has taken me, who it’s brought into my life and whether I’d be still doing it after starting in 2004. But I’m sure glad it done all that and more.

Here’s to at least eight more years!

100 Acts of Sewing

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Words cannot begin to describe how amazing and inspiring it’s been to watch my pal Sonya create one hundred dresses over the past year.

When I finally get behind a sewing machine again, I will have her to thank. Read more at

Now if only I could create four new knitted garments within a year…

do your job

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity (video from . Thanks to Wendy for sharing (not one of the knitting Wendys).


Write now

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010
Annual pen cleaning

Ever since high school, I’ve been a fan of fountain pens. I like their quality of line, expressive nature and the importance they impart into the words they write. Taking notes in real ink made me pay more attention to their content and celebrate the human hand that keyboards will never replace (especially the touch screen one on this phone I’m using now).

Before I knit, pen shops were a destination I’d seek out when traveling. Fountain pens are what I’d look for at flea markets, too. It’s only natural that a paper fetish followed from there. (I’d love to show you my pad and stationery collection one day.) Oddly enough, I never got into inks. I was content to use the bottles from Farhney’s (my dad’s favorite mail-order pen pusher) or one of the other two bottles I had (pure black Parker Quink and some electric royal blue from Krone).

Life goes on and I amass a little pen stash of pens (only ten or so). I use them for work, but sadly never fully develop the journaling or letter-writing habit I wish I had. I’ve had one flea market find boxed up for repair for years, but never gotten around to it. Heck, there are a few pens that have bever even been used!

So as part of my creating order in 2010, I dusted off my pens (like this blog) and decided to clean them out and put some of the newest ones into rotation. It makes me so happy to ride the glide of a nib across some smooth, heavy paper. like a good pen owner, the ones that haven’t been in use were already cleaned and perfectly content chilling in the cabinet.

Testing J. Herbin fountain pen inks

Lo and behold, in the same cabinet, I found two bottles of French ink I received in the mail last spring. Back in February, I agreed to review some J. Herbin fountain pen inks. I thought I’d receive one bottle, but two arrived, along with a mini Rhodia notepad. (They import thissuper-duper paper as well as inks and planners.) I had played with the Orange Indien when I first received it. How could I pass up an orange? It’s is confident and strong. Unfortunately, the Parker 51 I’m using with it is very generous (down-“write” slutty!) and leaves a fat wet line. But the ink remains as a very handsome and unique stroke.

The Lierre Sauvage is vibrant and perky green. Bright and alive, yet maintaining the dignity of a deeper forest green. I’m going to enjoy playing with this. I filled a Récife pen purchased during our 2007 trip to Paris that has languished parched and empty for these past two or so years. It’s about time this beauty sprouted words and thoughts onto paper, and the new leaf colored ink is well-suited for shoots and tendrils awaiting to unfurl from my hand.

With freshly cleaned pens from work stored away, a filled blue-black and a bright blue trusted sidekicks in my bag, and these new orange and green friends, I’ve got quite a bit of writing to do. I hand write my designs in their idea origins and as I knit them. I’m counting on these new inks to help realize the many new designs 2010 holds.

Sock Summit 2009

Friday, February 20th, 2009
Sock Summit!

Phew! I can finally say this now: I’ll be teaching at Sock Summit in Portland, OR, August 6-9, 2009. I kept quiet ever since I got the call from Stephanie. You’d think a harlot would do anything you say, but in this knitting world, you do whatever The Yarn Harlot says.

“You’re teaching, and keep your trap shut about it!” (I paraphrase.)
“Yes, Ma’am!” (My exact words to whatever she tells me to do. But, I did tell my mom. Don’t tell Stephanie!)

They’ve just posted a list of the teachers, and I can barely believe that I’m mentioned in such experienced and innovative company! I’m happy just to read some of these people’s books! I wonder if we’ll all hang out together…

I’m imagining a large door, that’s always locked and closed with a Teacher’s Lounge sign. Just like the one in my elementary school. Inside, there’s a haze of cigarette smoke hanging in the air, the scent of stale coffee and a faint hint of hair spray and make-up. (My elementary days were in the late 70s/early 80s.) What mysteries lurk inside the knitting teacher’s lounge?

Perhaps, not so much with the smoke and the over-the-top cosmetics. Probably a better vibe in the room, as mutual respect combines with the energy from the throngs of sock knitters all assembled in one place. I was too young to notice any covert drinking at Floyd Elementary in Derry, NH, but with this crowd, you never know, covert or overt! Over the din of needles clicking, a soft murmur of conversation flows.

Cat, are you knitting the instep, turning a heel and binding off the cuff at the same time in a Mobius addi-Turbo tangle?”
“Why, no, Judy. That’s your magical cast-on done upside-down on its head to the tune of a hummingbird’s song!”
“How many asymmetrical twisting cables over lace are in there, Cookie?”
“People, please keep that wool away from Amy!”
Meg, both you and your mother are two of my biggest inspirations!”
“Look, Anna’s yarn matches Lucy’s hair!”
Marjan, have you been to the US before?”
“Is that vintage you’re wearing, Nancy?”
Tina, I love what you’ve done with the Convention Center.”
“There she goes. JC is always casting-on, again and again.”
“Did you drop your beads, Sivia?”
“Well, I think that’s sensational, Charlene!”
“STEPHEN! Get that needle out of your nose!”

Alas, I have a little more than five months to get my act together and make myself presentable to both teachers and students. Some, I’ll be too shy to smile and say hello to. Other, I may want to tongue kiss, but I’d settle for a hug. For everyone who’s teaching or attending, and mostly to Stephanie and Tina it will be an honor and a blessing to be there with you.

Thanks, Tina and Stephanie, for making knitting heaven on Earth.

Whaddahyaknow, Joe?

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Just noticed that my messenger bag pattern from Knitty Gritty was link-checked on Lime N Violet’s Daily Chum which was then picked up by CRAFT magazine’s blog. Thanks, Yarngeek and Jenny Ryan!


Has it been a month since my last post? The Olympics came and went and my socks didn’t get done as planned. Mom successfully completed a pair of Monkey’s in Scout’s Swag hizKNITS yarn. Although I didn’t medal, there is some sock-tacular learning that shall be discussed at a later date. Needless to say, my US#1’s have been busy.

Speaking of knit-alongs, I should also mention the latest episode of YKNIT with Larissa Brown went up. Mike did a bang-up job with that interview.

Just a few more weeks, and I’ll have more free time to typey-type here. None of this “job” stuff cramping my style. See you next month?

(Let’s hope it’s sooner.)

Bran____ 2.0

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Just finished grafting the toe and weaving in the ends of the first Brancusi 2.0 sock. Sadly, I don’t have a picture to share with you, so you just have to trust me. Halfway there, hence the post title.

With more stitches and finer yarn, the pattern has changed a bit. The diamonds are isolated between twisted stitches columns. This is the third Brancusi I’ve knit, not counting the one and half “sketch” socks where I began playing with the pattern. As such (and with a little Cat Bordhi advice), in this one I was able to solve some of the tightness at the ankle.

All that remains is getting through the second one, just to make sure there’s enough yarn in the skein to enter in the Hill Country Yarns sock pattern contest. If there’s not, I’ll figure out a way to share the pattern with y’all.

Although I’m a few weeks out, I’m already looking forward to a much more stockinette sock. I’m thinking Cat’s Coriolis or perhaps Yarnissima’s Firestarter or Stephanie’s Earl Grey.

Maybe all three?

(and a very happy 40th to WonderMike! today’s the actual day.)

Brancusi’s Brother

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

So, here are the ill-matched fruits of my labor. There wasn’t quite enough yarn for the second Brancusi sock, hence the scraps of my Sock Wars sock. Therefore, I’m withdrawing my design from the sock pattern contest. The goal of the contest was to design a pattern for the yarn you receive. My pattern uses more yarn and may not be the best match for such a thick yarn.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the pattern. LOVE it. It will be knit again, but worked on a finer yarn. I need to alter the pattern and hopefully resubmit it in Round 2. That’s right, Hill Country Yarns is doing it again in the Fall. The winning sock patterns from the design contests will be the patterns in their upcoming sock club.

I’m flattered so many people enjoyed the pattern, both in comments here and on Ravelry. I hope I get a chance to share it with you… once the contest winners have been drawn in the next round.

In the meantime, I took a break from twisted stitches and whipped up a refreshingly stockinette (and speedy) Vinnland sock during our three days in Eugene, OR. I’ll post a picture once the second one is started.

Brancusi is dead. Long live Brancusi!

I’d like to thank…

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Hey, there, new readers! Did you come here after seeing the episode of Knitty Gritty? Thanks for coming by, make yourself comfortable and poke around all you like. If we ever meet person, I don’t usually talk out of the side of my mouth, and, for the moment, I have a shaved head, not that hacked up ‘do.

I wouldn’t be knitting if it wasn’t for Betsy, dear friend, swim teammate and knitter fabulousa. She gave me my first balls of Crystal Palace yarns. Susan at CPY provided all of the yarn and needles for this project (as well as a sock that I knit this past weekend, more later).

Lastly, the whole reason Knitty Gritty found me, thanks to Wendy Eidson’s documentary Real Men Knit. And Wendy found me via Thanks, Darrel for creating our community online.

DIY Network has posted the pattern here. (Vicky, the crew, and most of all, my producer Sonya were so great. I had such a great time on the set.) The pattern originally was part of the winter issue or from Michael, aka Tricky Tricot and Dan, my first-ever publishers!