“Nonnatus House, Midwife Speaking…”

You’ve probably noticed how quiet I’ve been – I apologize for that! Believe me, it’s all because of work, and that’s a good reason!

We just shipped our first wholesale order, which was huge (to me) and this adventure will NOT be duplicated until 2015, when we’re set up to seriously seek wholesale accounts.

All those things you read about businesses growing too fast are actually true,
and this first huge order gave me a glimpse of how easily that might happen!

NEW ‘NO SPOILERS’ COLORS!

Peace Rose Colorway

Peace Rose Colorway

If you’re as big a fan of Call The Midwife as I am, you will be SO excited tonight when Season 3 begins on PBS stations all across the US!  Our friends are back, and the art direction and costumes in this season are absolutely amazing! The Midwives and Sisters are moving into the 60′s in London, with all the color, light and edgy fashion that entails (Jean Shrimpton hair, anyone?)

Mid Century Industrial Extravaganza!

Mid Century Industrial Extravaganza!

They’ve moved into a new location (still in Poplar) with a new Community Clinic where new ways of dealing with the pain of childbirth are taught, along with many other new lessons.

Sadly, as we bring in eight new colors, we will have to say goodbye to six of the 221B colors (we’re keeping A Study In Pink and Bristol Pool! Huzzah!) 

I hate to say goodbye to colors that are selling so well, but the truth is that I just cannot dye so many different colors all at the same time – so for my own sanity we’ll only have two NO SPOILERS color sets going at any one time, and will keep a few colors from each set if they prove to be good sellers!

So, ladies and gentlemen, here are all eight colors of our newest NO SPOILERS collection, “Midwife Speaking”, which I’ve based on characters and incidents of the upcoming season of Call The Midwife.

I’ll not give any secrets away, and the color names are neutral as far as plot points,
but this is going to be a TREMENDOUS season.

I’m releasing all 8 colors tonight so folks can get the mini skein set at once. Besides, I’ve been SO overwhelmingly busy with the dyeing (good) and the designing (also good) that having time to do eight separate days of blogging for “Midwife Speaking” isn’t going to be happening!

But I promise to try to be better about writing. Believe me, dear readers
(and yarn customers, and well-wishers, and all my knitters and crocheters)
I love to connect with you via my blog and newsletter -
I really do miss you when I’m too busy to write!

 

Sooner Than Expected!

I’ve been rather quiet on the blog, and I apologize for that! You see, we’ve been KILLER busy!

According to our [back of napkin] business plan, ModeKnit Yarn, LLC wasn’t scheduled to begin working on acquiring wholesale orders until 2015. Kathleen and I both feel that one of the easiest mistakes to make with a new business is to grow it too quickly.

We didn’t want to create a demand that we couldn’t fulfill, and selling wholesale involves creating quantities of yarn that are just too big for us to turn out on a regular basis right now.

IMG_1042But then we were asked – so nicely – by a friend who owns a yarn shop in the LA area. We will be supplying yarn to A Major Knitwork for the LA Yarn Crawl (April 3-6).

This is a one-time adventure (well, until we begin doing wholesale on a regular basis in a year), and it’s been an incredible lesson in what it takes to put together just ONE wholesale order in a timely manner.

Of course, the fact that we’re donating 30 skeins of yarn to our own Steven Be’s as bag stuffers for their Fiber Fest, and four mini-skein sets as door prizes for the MN Knitters Guild for Yarn Over in addition to the huge wholesale order – and our regular online orders which have kept up steadily – just added to the fun.

Yeah, that’s the word I was looking for – fun.

IMG_1011So while coming up with a new NO SPOILERS colorway set based on one of my favorite mid-century dramas I’ve been up to my elbows in merino, silk and dye.

And it’s been one hell of a good time!

I’ll be revealing the new colors (and my next inspiration TV show) next week.

Right now I’m skeining up yarn so fast it makes poor Jasper the Standard Poodle’s head spin!

Archer Mitts

Archer Mitts shown in Officer Grimes/Daryl Dixon and Michonne/Hershel Greene

Archer Mitts shown in Officer Grimes/Daryl Dixon and Michonne/Hershel Greene

If you get my newsletter, you received a link for the Archer Mitts last week.

If not, here’s your link now!

They’re fun mitts, and — unusually for a free pattern — this involves techniques that are a bit beyond basic.

Provisional cast on? ICord Bind Off? Short Rows? Grafting? Creating a Thumb Gusset?

These are all techniques that you can try out with this simple pattern. Note that I said SIMPLE, which is not the same thing as EASY!

IMG_0810I’ve fallen in love with mitts; they’re not just fun to knit, they’re warm and allow full movement for your fingers. These are worked up in ModeLuxe, but to be honest you can use any worsted weight yarn (although ModeLuxe IS killer soft and delicious to knit up…)

I’ve been quiet because I’ve been dyeing up HUGE amounts of yarn, it’s selling like crazy, and I have more yarn waiting for me at home to dye up when I get back.

IMG_2406Where am I? I’m in Cleveland, preparing to tape a few segments of Knitting Daily TV tomorrow, and looking forward to seeing old friends!

I’m excited, but this evening is devoted to sitting still so my nail polish can dry, and figuring new ways to suck in my chins.

And now, MORE pictures of the lovely Archer Mitts (I can see Daryl wearing these during one of these Georgia snowstorms, right?)

The Knitting Dead, All The Colors

Daryl Dixon, The Governor, Michonne,

Daryl Dixon, The Governor, Michonne, Carol Peletier, Carl Grimes, Hershel Greene, Officer Grimes and Penny Blake, all shown in ModeWerk fingering.

While working up colors for The Walking Dead, I soon came to the conclusion that — unless one views all the colors together — they can just seem like so many variations on a theme of “Grey + Brown + Green + Red = Zombie”

So I’ve made the decision to display ALL of the colors together, in a cohesive group, which I hope will make these more compelling colorways!

I’m also offering a free pattern to make the stylish Archer’s Mitts (perfect for keeping your hands warm during these cold Georgia Winters) Every zombie fighter knows that fingers only get in the way when firing a crossbow or slashing a Katana.

Archer Mitts shown in Officer Grimes/Daryl Dixon and Michonne/Hershel Greene

Archer Mitts shown in Officer Grimes/Daryl Dixon and Michonne/Hershel Greene

If you’ve signed up for the newsletter, you’ll get a link to this pattern via email during tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead.  If you’re not on the mailing list, you’ll be able to download it in few days on this site or at Ravelry.

See, there are benefits to being a ModeKnit newsletter subscriber,
and you still have time to sign up now if you click here!

As always, ALL Knitting Dead colors are available in every ModeKnit yarn, and can be part of any ModeKnit Kit.

I can save lives. And that’s enough reason to risk mine.

Hershel GreeneHershel Greene personifies hope. He is the character most likely to envision a bright future–ironic as he’s also the oldest character. I can’t

Hershel’s colorful name aside, I wanted his color to bring to mind a field of soybeans or corn, spreading off into the distance, as a dark cloud looms on the horizon.

Greens, yellow-green and black are the defining colors of Hershel Greene.

“Grrraaaaaaah!”

Penny BlakePenny Blake is one of the many lost children that seem to float through this series.

Kids seem to be either the first victims or the most desensitized survivors. Penny falls into the first category, and her back story is unknown (except for the exceptionally creepy “Bye Baby Bunting” song that her father plays for her)

All we do know is after her death she rose again as the zombie apple of her father’s eye.

Penny Blake is a composite of pinks, greens and browns, all of them faded as befits a zombie child who has been locked away from the world for an undetermined amount of time.

“They were a threat. I was trying to save lives. I had to try. Somebody had to.

Carol Peletier is one of my favorite characters, a survivor before the zombies arrived, moving from victim to victor as the world goes to hell.

Carol PeletierBurned raw of any emotion after the loss of her daughter, Carol has been propelled through the crucible of loss to emerge as stronger, more galvanized version of her earlier self.

Seeing what needs to be done (teaching children to defend themselves, burning bodies of the mystery virus to prevent contagion) links her to Daryl as one of the Humans Most Likely To Survive.

Carol Peletier is fractured black hue, scattered into bits and fused together by the pure gold of Carol’s soul.

“I still know how to survive. Lucky for us. I don’t need you anymore.
I don’t need you to protect me anymore! I can take care of myself.”

Carl GrimesCarl Grimes grows up before our eyes, with the intensity of adolescence and an emotional depth far beyond his years, Carl lost any small piece of innocence he may have retained when he took it upon himself to shoot his mother after she died in childbirth.

At this point Carl is a sharp mix of strength and weakness, bravado and fear, not yet developing the subtlety that often comes with age. Carl sees things starkly, which is only to be expected by a child carrying the weight of a man as the world seems to end.

Carl Grimes is the iconic blue jean mixed with a strong black and white and touches of red.

If he was here right now, I’d cut him in two, because that’s how it needs to be.

MichonneMore than any other character, the persona of Michonne was created by the zombie apocalypse.

Her fire, passion, skill and drive to survive cannot be quenched, even by the deaths of her most beloved family and separation from every friend she’s made since the world went mad.

We’ve seen a tiny bit of Michonne’s past life, and now it’s understandable that it took a full season before we ever saw her crack a smile —what was there to smile about?

Michonne is a rich, vibrant blend of pinks, purple and reds over a base of deep brown, reflecting her passion (both in terms of intense emotion and intense suffering)

“Kill them all!

The GovernorSherlock can joke about being a highly functioning sociopath, but Phillip Blake (The Governor) is the real deal.

Motivated by a lust for power, which often trumps his secondary motivation to protect those whom he considers “his”, The Governor is an interesting portrayal of the type of man who emerges at the head of totalitarian regimes throughout history.

The fact that he can present vastly different sides of himself, chameleon-like, depending on what is required at the moment makes him one of the more interesting (if repulsive) characters in The Walking Dead.

The Governor is the most diverse mix of colors in the The Knitting Dead series, reds, yellows, pinks and greys stand out against a black/white background.

I just want my brother back.

Daryl DixonDaryl’s the quiet muscle, the thinking wo/man’s redneck, and he’s proven to be a better friend, defender and father-figure than almost anyone else on the show.

Where his brother, Merle, was indignant and cruelly bossy, Daryl is slow to pass judgement. He is fully present at every moment he’s on screen (and remains vital to the action when he’s off screen.)

Daryl Dixon a neutral camo green/tan, with strong blood & gore red/brown overtones and just a bit of gold shining through.

“You pull the trigger, you have to mean it.

Officer GrimesOfficer Rick Grimes, Sheriff Deputy, is the authority figure, the decider, the one who – for better or for worse – most folks turn to within his group for guidance.

Rick has the power to decide where the group goes, who stays within the group, and who is banished to the zombieverse outside of his charmed circle.

Rick can pass his hat on to Carl, he can try to deny that he is the power, but he retains the aura of Officer Grimes to everyone within his group.

Officer Grimes is a blend of the beautiful blue of his Georgia patrol car; the deep, rich brown of his iconic hat, the warm tan of his uniform with just a touch of creamy white.

The Knitting Dead, Color 2: Daryl Dixon

Daryl_Dixon

Daryl Dixon

I wasn’t prepared to like Daryl Dixon as much as I do. He is easily my favorite character in The Walking Dead.

Daryl looked too much like many members of my family; unkempt, rough, a little shady, and probably out on parole.

But it took less than half an episode for me to see that he’s the pearl in his family clam shell.

Daryl Dixon & Officer Grimes together in the "Archer" Mitt

Daryl Dixon & Officer Grimes worked together in the upcoming pattern, “Archer” Mitts

Where his brother, Merle, was indignant and cruelly bossy, Daryl is slow to pass judgement. He is fully present at every moment he’s on screen (and remains vital to the action when he’s off screen.)

He is just THERE when folks need him; Daryl sees what needs to be done, does it, and expects nothing in return but freedom to do the job the way he sees fit.

I have no idea what the upcoming episodes hold in the way of pairings, but – as my 17-year-old daughter would say – I’d “ship” Daryl and Carol, they’d make a formidable couple.

And he is without a doubt the most loyal character on The Walking Dead; when Daryl has your back, he keeps your back.

The fact that he’s a total badass with a crossbow doesn’t hurt, either; the Robin Hood heartthrob of TWD!

Daryl Dixon Colorway in ModeLuxe

Daryl Dixon Colorway in ModeLuxe

Daryl’s the quiet muscle, the thinking wo/man’s redneck, and he’s proven to be a better friend, defender and father-figure than almost anyone else on the show.

Daryl Dixon is our Knitting Dead color of the week. It’s base is a neutral camo green/tan, with strong blood & gore red/brown overtones and just a bit of gold shining through.

The color would pair nicely with just about every other color in our series, and is available in all ModeKnit yarns, and can be part of any ModeKnit Kit.

IMG_0768

An Open Letter to Mrs. Brokaw

Dear Mrs. Brokaw,

Obviously I don’t know you, we’ve never met, although I – like many Americans – feel that I know your husband. My own husband’s father was a stagehand at NBC for many years, and always mentioned what a mensch your husband was. Stage hands learn pretty fast who is a good guy, and who’s a bit of a prima donna.

So apparently this past Summer you joined the club I joined 7 years ago, spouses of folks with Multiple Myeloma. We also share the fact that our husbands are being treated at the Mayo Clinic, which I consider a very good club to be in, indeed.

You’re in the best hands in the world. When Gerry, my husband, was diagnosed his prognosis was poor, but every year, with new drugs and improved treatment options, his prognosis gets a little better.

Life has never been as precious to us as it as these past few years. We feel amazingly lucky. Excellent work is being done all over the world on this disease, but we’re biased toward the Mayo as we live in Minnesota.

I’m not going to say, “Cancer is a gift” – because it’s not. This is a painful, frightening disease – I hope your husband hasn’t had too much bone damage and subsequent pain.

But what this disease HAS given to our family is a golden opportunity to realize exactly how precious we are to each other, and how wonderful each day we share is. Often at the Mayo we would remark that it felt as though we were on a second honeymoon, except this time with chemo.

You’re not alone. I know it’s presumptive of me to write this note, and by this time you’ve realized everything that I could ever tell you. Know that there are many spouses next to you, standing by your side, all of us loving our husbands and wives, all of us willing to share some strength or just let you know that a prognosis can change for the better, especially with Multiple Myeloma.

All the best wishes for treating this terrible cancer as a chronic condition!

Best,
Annie Modesitt

The Knitting Dead, Color 1: Officer Grimes

Rick's Patrol Car

Rick’s Patrol Car

Today I begin revealing a series of colors based on AMC’s The Walking Dead which I’m calling, The Knitting Dead.

Personally, I can’t understand why there’s not more knitting (or ANY knitting) in TWD, I feel the producers are missing out on a huge section of their fan base.

The Hat

The Hat

And we KNOW there are some damned fine yarn shops in Georgia! Plus, I refuse to believe that all knitting would cease when the zombie apocolypse begins.

I’ll begin at the beginning; Rick Grime’s former life as an Sheriff’s Deputy in Georgia.

Even after the entire world changes and Rick loses, then finds, his family, he retains the identity as Officer Grimes in everything but title.

Officer Grimes in ModeWerk

Officer Grimes in ModeWerk

Rick is the authority figure, the decider, the one who – for better or for worse – most folks turn to within his group for guidance.

Rick has the power to decide where the group goes, who stays within the group, and who is banished to the zombieverse outside of his charmed circle.

Rick can pass his hat on to Carl, he can try to deny that he is the power, but he retains the aura of Officer Grimes to everyone within his group.

 

Officer Grimes in ModeLuxe

Officer Grimes in ModeLuxe

Officer Grimes is a blend of the beautiful blue of his Georgia patrol car; the deep, rich brown of his iconic hat, the warm tan of his uniform with just a touch of creamy white.

 

Officer Grimes sums up, in a color sense, how Rick saw himself before the zombie virus sets in, and how many continue to see him.

The Knitting Dead

I’m not a natural-born zombie lover, as many knitters seem to be.

The Knitting DeadPerhaps it was my upbringing among fundamentalist Free Methodists (several of whom could have passed for Zombies, but let’s keep my father’s side of the family out of this)

So It took me a while to settle into a love of The Walking Dead.

My criteria for loving a TV show has—so far—been simple; No Sweaty Men.

This one rule has kept me safe from many testosterone laden series and bad reality shows. But evidently I have overcome my rule and have come to love TWD.

Who knew? I’m usually a Downton Abbey / TCM kind of woman.

I think what swayed me toward TWD was the brilliant after-show, Talking Dead, which is hilarious and sweetly earnest, hosted by the incredibly charming Chris Hardwick (@nerdist on Twitter who also hosts @Midnight on Comedy Central after The Colbert Report M-Th.) Once I watched a few episodes of Talking Dead, I had to go back and see the entire Walking Dead from episode one. Lots of good knitting between the cringing and eye-gouging.

So here I am, loving this gory, zombie laden, not-very-logical TV show (why on earth did they not just head to an island in Season 1?) where there’s barely enough water to drink, let alone have a full bath.

One of my favorite scenes in the entire series is in episode 1, when Rick meets Morgan and Duane and takes them to the station house for a good, hot shower.
Yep, I love me a good ‘make-over’ montage! Give me CLEAN any day!

And, of all the places to look for inspiration for colorway, The Walking Dead is a hard one! But I’m up for the challenge. I’ll do it for Herschel (who I feel would have appreciated some good knitting!)

Each week I’ll bring out a new colorway based on a character, location or event from TWD which inspires me, and these will be available in all our ModeKnit Yarns (ModeSock, ModeLuxe & ModeWerk.)

I’ll be creating these colors each week, so join me as I strive to find some wooly beauty in the gory details of The Walking Dead!

And feel free to make suggestions, I’m all ears!

Straighten Your Knocker

Knocker Askew

Knocker Askew

Everything that is good in Sherlock’s life can be found behind the door at 221B Baker Street.

His friendship with Watson, his music, his books, his kitchen full of experiments & forensic samples, Mrs. Hudson’s motherly ministrations — 221B is Sherlock’s haven.

It’s his place of retreat, his place of celebration, his morning cup of tea which magically appears each day, an area of quietude.

Proof of Mycroft's Visit

Proof of Mycroft’s Visit

It’s not tidy. It’s actually rather dusty and messy; painted faces and bullet holes in the wall, eyeballs in the tea…

But it IS home—slightly askew, a little tarnished—but familiar and loved. And that necessary off-centeredness lies at the root of Sherlock’s love/annoy relationship with his brother.

Mycroft, the type of sibling who would balance Sherlock’s checkbook without invitation, insists on straightening the knocker on the front door whenever he visits.

Straighten Your Knocker Colorway

Straighten Your Knocker Colorway

Sherlock insists on moving the knocker back to it’s slightly off-center position (could there be a maternally driven formula* for the angle he chooses?)

And this is how one can tell which brother was the last to enter 221B Baker Street.

Straighten Your Knocker brings all of the rich, masculine colors of the portal into Sherlock’s world together into one beautiful colorway.

Slippy Cowl in Bristol South Pool & Straighten Your Knocker

Slippy Cowl worked up in Bristol South Pool & Straighten Your Knocker in ModeLuxe

Deep browns, bronze yellows, black and a hint of scarlet; all wrapped up in a rich palette that would please any gift recipient who only wants “brown” (while also satisfying the knitting partner who wants a bit more excitement!)

Available in ModeSock, ModeLuxe and ModeWerk (fingering & worsted) this is a colorway that can bring folks who love simplicity and order together with folks who thrive on complexity and nuance.

Shown here paired with Bristol South Pool in the slippy cowl, Straighten Your Knocker is a colorway that can stand alone, or play VERY well with others.

Unlike Sherlock.

Have you enjoyed these eight blog posts about the eight 221B Colors? You can always order a mini-skein set of all eight colors (in ModeSock or ModeWerk Fingering)

Walking Dead

STAY TUNED for the next installment of our NO SPOILERS! series when The Walking Dead returns on February 9th!


Slippy Cowl Kit
Color 1
Color 2


*(After all, his mother, M.L. Holmes is the author of the book, The Dynamics of Combustion, not to be confused with The Dynamics of an Asteroid by James Moriarty)

You Have Two Weeks

I’m always so torn at Valentine’s Day.  I love chocolate (too much!) and I love flowers, but if I’m going to be showered with gifts I’d love to get something less fattening and longer-lasting than the traditional Valentine’s Day haul.

So – because my husband and I have a long-time, pragmatic marriage – he actually likes it when I tell him what would most appeal to me for Valentine’s Day. And I’m happy to accommodate!

I present you with my 2014 Valentine’s Wish List. I honestly don’t expect to get all (or any) of it, but I figure if Gerry has good, firm hints I’m more likely to wake up on Feb 14th with something I can fully enjoy!

Remember, there’s nothing more satisfying to a gift giver than the knowledge that their gift is appreciated and loved. Sometimes a well-placed hint can make this possible!

Work Bags

snap1Oh, Snap!

Namaste is an amazing company.

They support good causes, they make some of the most beautiful vegan ‘leather’ bags around, and they truly GET crafters & their needs!  This year high on my list are the Oh, Snap! bags.

I am (in)famous for carrying around various ziplock bags filled with yarn and projects-in-process. Sometimes I seem to be more bag than knitter once I get all my work spread out. But not only is it a waste of plastic bags, they just look shabby.

Cool colors!

Cool colors!

The Oh, Snap! bag is roomy, easy to get into, and – best of all – see through! I love to see what I’m working on, and show stuff off without taking it out of the bag! It comes in a variety of colors, in sets of 2 or 3 bags.

Reusable and STRONG, I have one long-wearing green one that’s taken the place of at least 20 ziplock bags!

The Wristlet In Red

The Wristlet In Red

Wristlet

Looking for something less crafty, but just as utilitarian? I can HIGHLY recommend the Wristlet as one of the most useful small bags I’ve ever owned!

It’s well designed,with multiple zippered pockets and credit card slots and a useful wrist strap. Along with the pockets are two separate compartments in the purse (I use one for personal items, the other for knitting tools) and to top the whole thing off it’s absolutely charming.

wristletThe exterior is made of PVC-free vegan faux leather, the interior  of PET microsuede in gray (made from recycled plastic bottles)

I am constantly getting compliments on this cunning little purse, and have no problem carrying it at a dressier occasion. If you have been wanting to give Namaste Bags a try, this is a great ‘trial bag’, and—highlight this sentence when you print this out to leave on your significant other’s pillow—the Wristlet would make a GREAT GIFT!

Reference Book

Like many knitters, I have dozens of stitch dictionaries and pattern libraries on my shelf. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to get a new one, what could possibly be new?

Melissa Leapman’s The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook is remarkable. I will admit I got a free copy, but if I didn’t believe that this was one of the most useful books you can get, I wouldn’t write about it!

Melissa Leapman's book is a MUST HAVE!

Melissa Leapman’s book is a MUST HAVE!

Not only is The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook filled with different motifs (as you’d expect) Melissa offers excellent suggestions for USING the motifs in an actual garment, with tips on charting for a neckline, fitting motifs into a schematic and decreasing while remaining true to the stitch pattern.

This is a book every knitter should have!

And if you can acquire it as part of your Valentine’s Day festivities, then everyone is happy!