Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sheep Heid

Back in November I posted a quick note that I'd finished Kate Davies' Sheep Heid tam. Well, it's finally sunny (though cold!) and I have the lighting to take a few pictures:

That last picture is the glass mixing bowl I balanced on my yarn swift to simulate a head. The one from the inside was before I wove in the ends (72 of them!). It's a tiny bit loose on my head, which is perfect as I like to wear a cotton headband under wool hats so they don't feel itchy on my face. If I were to knit it again I'd probably use a 2x2 rib on the brim for a slightly snugger fit. You can see some of the stitches aren't quite even but I figure that will block out the next time I wash it.

All in all I cannot say enough good things about this pattern. I love it. Browns and creams aren't particularly my colours but it's my default hat and four months later, I still grin like a loon whenever I think about it. It's my first stranded colour-work where I feel like I understand the tension issues - my earlier efforts all pull tight.

Flurries Cowl and the Great Cowl KAL

You might think that, with two pairs of socks in progress, a hooded scarf on the needles, and yarn either acquired for specific projects (a sweaters for my husband and one for my self; mittens for Aged Parent) or less specific projects (socks! socks socks socks socks, socks! Well, at least three pairs) that I wouldn't be looking for new projects. Though, to be fair, if you actually thought that you're probably not a knitter or otherwise crafty.

In my defense, I didn't go looking for patterns, but one (well, five really) jumped out at me from behind a bush (RSS feed) and, what can I say other than that I'm a sucker for a free pattern, especially one that's only free for a limited time? I've recently downloaded The Sexy Knitter's thummed Muffalette, Kate Davies' Fair Isle Mucklemuff and Mary Jane Mucklestone's matching Muckle-mitts*, all Christmas or New Year's presents and thus they free for a limited time.

Those are not my current projects (though they've all been queued because they're lovely and I don't have a single muff** and now I have very different patterns for two of them!). My current project is a slightly different proposition: Liz Abinante of Feministy is doing The Great Cowl KAL, a series of five cowl KALs with the first one Flurries Cowl currently being free. If you knit it and submit a picture by the deadline, 8 February, you get the pattern for the next cowl for free. The cowls are all listed in the original post, it's not a mystery game, and if you miss a cowl you can buy the subsequent pattern and still earn the following ones. Isn't that nifty? Add in that the first cowl calls for Brioche stitch, one I've been wanting to try, and I had to cast on:

I've decided I really like the concept of giving a pattern away for free for a limited time, and not just because I like free stuff***: it's a reward for fans who pay attention, a way to attract new people as your existing fans tell their friends about this limited-time offer, and, importantly, when the pattern is no longer free, when you're asking strangers to pay for it, there are already a slew of projects and feedback with a variety of yarns alternatives and proven modifications. You basically turn your fans into Beta Testers (not to be confused with test knitters who provide a valuable service, one worthy of remuneration) and increase the value of a given pattern.

~ * ~

* if you read further through her blog, May Jane Mucklestone does a little tutorial on after-thought thumbs, well worth the read: prepping, picking up, and fixing holes

** don't be dirty

*** free doesn't necessarily correlate with "good", know what I mean? Also, I am entirely in favour of paying designers for patterns I like so that they can afford to design more things that I like. It's win-win.