Finding Your Knitting Book in the Library

Today the family and I went to Downtown L.A. and among the many stops we made was the library. It was a really cool place.

The inside walls of the elevators are made up of old card catalog cards.

The inside walls of the elevators are made up of old card catalog cards.

Once you get upstairs, there are fantastic sculptures hanging from the ceiling.

IMG_9467

And they look great from all different angles.

Another point of view.

Another point of view.

I thought, “I wonder if they have my books here!” So I asked where the knitting section was.

Voila!

Voila!

My little models.

My little models.

I found some friends’ books, too!

Joan of Dark's "Knockdown "Knits" and "Knits for Nerds."

Joan of Dark’s “Knockdown “Knits” and “Knits for Nerds.”

Tanis Gray's "Knit Local."

Tanis Gray’s “Knit Local.”

They had “Once Upon A Knit” in hardcover, which I thought was nuts, since they were only published in paperback.

I have to say, it’s awfully darn cool to find your own work in a library. Hopefully people will check them out!

Knit Your Halloween Costume!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying this early October day. It’s currently 64 degrees and cloudy, which is lovely. It’s been SO HOT here lately (and will warm up to the 80s today), that I just love that it’s nice and cool. I’m about to take a walk and I’m going to need my ear warmers. 🙂

Since it’s October, that means Halloween is around the corner! In our house, we like to make our own costumes. Either we sew them (mostly my husband) or knit them (me) or piece them together from things we buy or make or have around the house. This is a tradition that goes way back to my childhood. My mom put together this fine costume for me ON Halloween. I never got more compliments as a kid trick-or-treating.

You may also note the homemade Steve Austin costume, and the handsewn clown costume - all made by my mom.

You may also note the homemade Steve Austin costume, and the handsewn clown costume – all made by my mom.

So, I have a few ideas for Halloween that you can knit! 🙂

Add a leotard and pair of wings to the Fairy Tutu for a cute little woodland sprite.

Add a leotard and pair of wings to the Fairy Tutu for a cute little woodland sprite.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 9.06.51 AM

Who doesn’t love Little Red Riding Hood? Don’t forget the basket by Marilee Norris!

You could whip up 3 little pig hats and one wolf for a cute group costume!Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 9.09.45 AM Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 9.09.20 AM

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 9.08.52 AM

This hat by Trisha Paetsch is a perfect accessory to any princess!

All of the above can be found in Once Upon A Knit.

Feeling a little darker? Here’s one from Vampire Knits.

You can put a few gashes on your face and wear the Tourniquet Scarf to make it look like you're bleeding at the neck.

You can put a few gashes on your face and wear the Tourniquet Scarf to make it look like you’re bleeding at the neck.

Finally, here are some ideas taken from two fandoms you might be a part of, both found in Knits for Nerds by Joan of Dark.

Feeling geeky? Knit up the Space Princess Hat. There are 3 versions.

Feeling geeky? Knit up the Space Princess Hat. There are 3 versions.

And if your geekdom is more Trek than Wars, there's the Trek Dress by Joan of Dark.

And if your geekdom is more Trek than Wars, there’s the Trek Dress by Joan of Dark.

Whatever you decide, I hope everyone has as much fun planning for Halloween as we do at my house! And if you decide to make any of these projects, please feel free to post them in the comments!!

Happy Knitting!

~Genevieve

In Which I Meet Joan of Dark – Author of Knits for Nerds

When I started out on this quest of writing a book of Vampire-inspired patterns, I started on Ravelry with a group of like-minded people.

The funny thing about collaborating with folks online is that often, you never meet in person. The designers who worked on my two books are from Utah, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Washington DC, the UK, and Canada! I never met any of them. Until now.

That designer was Joan of Dark. You may recognize her from “Knockdown Knits”,

 

or “Knits for Nerds”

She also contributed this awesome sweater to “Vampire Knits”:

Love Bites, for him by Joan of Dark

Love Bites, for him by Joan of Dark

She also has 4 designs in “Once Upon A Knit” – and they’re all fantastic!!

She has been in L.A. for the last few days doing photoshoots for HER new geek-inspired book that I’m contributing to. I can’t WAIT to see how everything turns out. I’ve seen some sneak peeks and it looks like she and her photographer, Kyle Cassidy, really have an eye for style.

We hugged. I met her husband, her friend Kerrie, and her photographer Kyle. They were all lovely. We talked Los Angeles, celebrities, designing, photo shoots, and publishers, and I was able to show her what her projects look like in “Once Upon A Knit.” It was a short but sweet meeting in the 95 degree heat of an unusually sweltering November day in Burbank, and we all crowded under the shade of my hatchback door to look at the galley.

Sadly, I forgot to whip out my phone and snap a selfie of the two of us, but it was great to finally meet her! Hopefully she won’t be the last knitwear designer and author I meet on my journey, but the first of many. ❤ I can’t wait to see her new book, which will be out sometime in 2014.

Click on her name above to find her blog and follow her on twitter.

And in case you’re not following me yet, you can find me two places:

https://twitter.com/reallygenevieve

and https://twitter.com/VampireKnits

3 more months til “Once Upon A Knit” is out!!!

Vampire Knits Makes A Great Gift!

Tis the season to be Jolly and to give gifts. Whatever holiday you celebrate, or even if you don’t, there’s always an occasion to give a gift to someone you care about. It could be a Christmas gift to your sister, who just started knitting, a Hanukkah gift to your roommate, who loves all things vampire, or a Festivus gift to your grouchy downstairs neighbor to say, “Hey. I’m sorry we’re noisy sometimes.” Maybe it’s a Thank You gift to your wife or friend for being wonderful. Or a Just Because gift for your neighbor, because you know he likes to knit.

Whatever the occasion, Vampire Knits is a great option for a gift for someone you love, or even like a little bit.

CrafterNews has their Holiday Gift Guide out today, and what a list!

There’s something there for pretty much everyone!

The guide is divided into several sections.

The first section is “Staff Picks” which includes

The next section is “For The Hostess” which includes

There’s a section “For Him”

“For Her”

You’ll find Vampire Knits in the section “For the Young Crafter”(I like to think of it as The Young, Hip Crafter)

The last section is “For the Family”

You’ll find crochet, knit, paper, and general craft books. If you have crafters in your friends and family- check out CrafterNews’ list!

How A Pile of Yarn Becomes A Sweater, Part Deux

So, I posted the first bit of how I started making *something* awhile back HERE. I was doing really, really well. Actually, I wasn’t. I was knitting up LATE at night and forgetting to psso and so my 145 sts became about 175 sts and I had to frog after about 5 inches. Heartbreak, I tell you.

But I started over. Here’s my journey.

Starting over. Knitting at soccer practice.

Skirt finished, before blocking.

working on the sleeves and the bodice...

Progress

We were heading to San Francisco for Thanksgiving, so what better than to spend some time…

Knitting in the car...

a few hours in the car will get you shoulders!

Knitting outside...

Finally done knitting and on the blocking mats!

Tada!

The back

The hood

So as you can see, it’s the Lore Hoodie, designed by Cirilia Rose. I’m SO happy to have finished it! I’ve been wearing it all day, since I’ve finished sewing on the buttons. Not everyone knows I knit it. Not everyone knows it’s from Vampire Knits. I do, on both counts, and I love it. There’s just something making something with your own hands – seeing lumps of yarn turn into a gorgeous knit garment you can wear with pride, and if someone gives you a compliment and says, “What a pretty sweater!” you can say, “I knit it myself!” and watch their faces show astonishment.

Next on the needles? Some Christmas knitting and some projects for my next book idea…

Happy December, everyone! What’s on YOUR needles?

 

My Article on Word And Film

I wrote an article for Random House’s website “Word and Film” – you can find it here.

Movies as Craft

or read it below:

“I have a confession. I have a secret crush on a teenage vampire.” It was four years ago when my friend admitted this to me as we watched our kids climb the monkey bars. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

Shortly after, she came over to my house and the minute she walked through the door, she put a book in my hand. It was a well-worn paperback with a pair of pale hands holding an apple on the cover. My life hasn’t been quite the same since I read it.

Like so many other fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, Edward Cullen captured my heart and my imagination. The author not only brought me into her world of vampires, wolves, and humans, but inspired me to design some vampire-esque knits and put me on a journey that led to me publishing my own book, Vampire Knits. Vampire Knits has twenty-eight knitting patterns all inspired by vampire stories. The book not only allowed me to share my dual love of vampires and knitting with readers, but it has led me to meet so many wonderful people – in yarn shops, book fairs, and even Comic Con – who share these same passions. I like to think I’ve even turned a few vamp lovers into knitters.

I’d always loved vampires, but there was something unique and magical about Twilight that inspired me unlike anything else. Ms. Meyer’s vampires sparkled instead of bursting into flames, they kept a civil treaty with wolves in neighboring territory, and they felt fascinatingly modern. Most of all, Twilight was a love story I could relate to.

This week, “Breaking Dawn: Part 1,” the final chapter of the Twilight Saga, will be released in theaters around the world. I’ll be in the theater with the same friend who introduced me to the series – it’s our ritual. We always watch the movies together. I’m excited to see how the last two installments will come together, and how they’ll separate the last book, Breaking Dawn, into two stories. I can’t wait to see the human girl become the vampire instead of a meal.

One thing I’ve been doing to get ready for the movie release is knit. I’m knitting the gorgeous Lore Hoodie (designed by Cirilia Rose), which appears on the cover of Vampire Knits, to wear to the premiere. Like Edward, it’s beautiful and mysterious and a little fancy.

I have a confession. I have a not-so-secret crush on a teenage vampire, and I can’t wait to watch him marry an ordinary human girl on November 18, wearing something I knit from my own book. I will wear my Lore Hoodie with pride, knowing that it was inspired by the very characters up on the screen. And while I’m a bit sad that the saga is almost over, I know that the story will always live on, between the pages of the books, on the screen, and in all the items that I’ve knit.

My Movie Knitting (Or How A Pile Of Yarn Becomes A Sweater)

So, I’ve given myself a goal. Have you ever done that? Told yourself, “I’m going to knit this by this date so I can wear it to this event.”  I never have made THAT kind of goal for myself. Usually my goal knitting is a) making a gift for someone by their birthday/Christmas/baby shower or b) making the items in time for the auction they’ll be donated to or c) making the items in time for the deadline of the book(s) they’ll be in. Making something for myself to wear to an actual event is a completely new idea, so we’ll see how I fare.

Step One - open the bag o' yarn

What a hank looks like

The umbrella swift

 

I will admit that when I first started knitting as a young girl, and even when I took up knitting again as an adult, I never bought anything that wasn’t prewound in a ball, ready-to-knit. Only in the last six or seven years did I venture into buying hanks, and I either wound them by hand (with the help of the husband) onto something random like an empty water bottle (I do not recommend this method) or would have the yarn shop do it. About five years ago I bought myself a yarn winder, and with the help of my husband, again, would wind them on my own. Then, my husband made my Christmas wishes come true when he bought me my own swift about three years ago. I almost cried. It’s made life so much easier, and opened up a whole new world of yarn for me. Not to mention, my kids love helping me wind the yarn!

My swanky set-up

 

So, I set up my swift and my winder, and went to town.

After winding, the hank becomes a cake - voila!

 

So, what am I knitting with this lovely cake?

I’ll let you guess. I’m sure some of you can guess just by looking at what type of yarn it is… though I’ll give you another clue and say that I’m not knitting it in the color it’s knit in for the pattern. I’m breaking out! The goal was to knit this lovely garment by my birthday, November 6th, but the likelihood of me finishing this in a week is very slim, so I’m giving myself til November 18th. Hm… what’s happening on November 18th?

One hint…

 

What’s on your needles?

 

Free Halloween Pattern – Rip-apart Vampire Doll

In the process of making Vampire Knits, as with any book, there is a lot of editing that happens. Sometimes patterns we love get dropped at the last minute. This little guy was a great concept, but ultimately was hard to photograph. I still like him, and need to work on a way to make his neck a bit stronger so that it doesn’t flop to the side, but other than that, he’s still a cute little vampire doll.

  

Don't mind his pinned on mouth.

Little Eric

You can make him two ways. I intended him to be made in separate pieces, with velcro on the ends of each piece so that the arms, legs, and head could be ripped off easily and put back together. The thought behind this is that in a lot of vampire stories, the only way to kill a vampire is to rip the pieces and either burn them or bury them separately. The bonus is that he makes a great frustration doll.

I made the first version to look a bit more like Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse books, and later made a version that looked more like the O.V. himself, Dracula.

So, if you’d like to make your own little Vampire, here you go!

Burn the Pieces

by Genevieve Miller

In several vampire stories, the only way to kill a vampire is to rip it into pieces and either bury them separately or burn them. I thought it would be a fun concept for a doll, and even helpful in easing stress… just rip it to pieces and put him back together again. 

This doll could be made in all kinds of different colors. I chose black and grey for a more “traditional” vampire look, with pale white skin.

Difficulty

Intermediate

Size

One size

Finished Measurements

15 1/2″ (40cm) tall

Materials

1 skein each Patons Grace, 100% mercerized cotton, 1.75 oz (50g), 136 yd (125m), colors Night (A), Clay (B), and Natural (C)

1 skein LION BRAND Microspun, 100% microfiber acrylic, 2.5 oz (70g), 168 yd (154m), color Ebony (D)

Set of 5 size 3 (3.25mm) double-pointed needles

Crochet hook

Tapestry needle

Polyester fiberfill for stuffing

Velcro

Sewing needle and black and red thread (also deep red to match Velcro, if dyed)

Small amount of black, white, red, and blue felt

Small amount of satin fabric for cape lining

Small button

RIT dye (color Scarlet) for dyeing Velcro (optional)

Gauge

24 stitches and 36 rows = 4″ (10cm)

Special Skills

Knitting in the round

Basic sewing and embroidery skills

Abbreviations

Kfb – knit into the front and the back of the stitch to increase

Pattern

Doll

Body

With A, cast on 48 stitches and divide evenly among 4 double-pointed needles. Join in a round. Work in stockinette stitch until piece measures 1 1/2″ (4cm). Change to B. Work even until piece measures 4 1/2″ (11cm).

Shoulders:

Needle 1:  Ssk, knit to end.

Needle 2:  Knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog.

Needle 3:  Ssk, knit to end.

Needle 4:  Knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog.

Continue as set until there are 3 stitches left on each needle. Cut yarn, leaving an 8″ (20cm) tail. Thread yarn though stitches and pull tight to secure. Stuff with fiberfill, sew bottom edge closed.

Arms (make 2)

With B, cast on 12 stitches. Work in stockinette stitch for 4″ (10cm). Change to C, knit 8 more rows. Bind off.

Legs (make 2)

With A, cast on 16 stitches. Work in stockinette stitch for 5 3/4″ (15cm). Bind off.

Head

With C, cast on 16 stitches and divide evenly among 4 double-pointed needles.  Join in a round.

Needle 1: Kfb, knit to end.

Needle 2: Knit to last stitch, kfb.

Needle 3: Kfb, knit to end.

Needle 4: Knit to last stitch, kfb.

Continue as set until there are 9 stitches on each needle. Work even for approximately 26 rounds or until head measures 3 1/2″ (9cm) from base of neck.

Shape Head:

Needle 1: Ssk, knit to end.

Needle 2: Knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog.

Needle 3: Ssk, knit to end.

Needle 4: Knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog.

Continue as set until there are 3 stitches on each needle. Cut yarn, leaving an 8″ (20cm) tail. Thread yarn though stitches and pull tight to secure, adding fiberfill before closing.

Finishing

Dye Velcro if desired for “bloody” effect according to package directions. Allow to dry.

Sew arms and legs along side seams, stuff with fiberfill, sew top openings closed. Weave in ends. With sewing needle and thread, sew soft side of Velcro to end of neck and each arm and leg. Sew stiff side of Velcro to body where parts will be joined.

Eyes:

Draw two almond shapes onto black felt and cut out; this will be the outline around the eyes. Draw two slightly smaller almond shapes onto white felt and cut out; this will be the whites of the eyes. Draw two small circles onto blue (or other color) felt for the irises. Attach all together with black thread in the center of the iris to create the pupil. Sew eyes onto face as shown, using black thread.

Mouth:

Draw a mouth shape onto red felt and cut out; a simple crescent works well. Add fangs cut from white felt, if desired. Sew fangs onto mouth, then mouth onto face using red thread.

Hair:

To create a slick widow’s peak, thread D onto tapestry needle and sew hair onto head from back of head to front using long, closely spaced stitches until scalp is covered. Adjust length of stitches to create widow’s peak, making them longer in the center.

To create longer, flowing hair (like Eric Northman), cut strands of D twice as long as desired hair length. Using a crochet hook, fold 1 strand over hook, insert through top of head, and pull ends of yarn through loop to secure (as for attaching fringe). Repeat until scalp is covered, trim ends if desired.

Cape:

Using 2 of the double-pointed needles as straight needles, cast on 56 stitches.

Row 1: Knit.

Row 2 (RS): Ssk, knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog (54 stitches).

Row 3 and all wrong side rows:  Purl.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until 14 stitches remain, ending with a RS row. Piece should measure approximately 6 1/2″ (17cm). Work even in stockinette stitch for 5 rows, ending with a WS row.

Increase as follows:

Row 1 (RS): Kfb, knit to last stitch, kfb (16 stitches).

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until there are 22 stitches. Bind off knitwise on a WS row. Weave in ends. Block.

Cut a piece of satin fabric or felt the same size as the cape. With black thread, sew to WS of cape as a lining.

Button Loop:

Using 2 double-pointed needles, cast on 3 stitches. Work in I-cord for 5″ (13cm). Bind off. Fold I-cord in half to

make a loop and sew to right edge of cape, at neck indentation. Sew button opposite loop. Dress doll in cape.

   

I used a fancy button off one of my own sweaters.

If you end up making one, please post it here!!

Success At the Knit Shop!

This past Saturday, I was at Knitting With Sandra, a “local-ish” yarn shop for a book signing. The shop is in Riverside, CA, which is about an hour away from me. Shelley, one of the owners, contacted me through Ravelry a few months back about having an event, and I thought it was a great idea! I was still smarting a bit from being rejected from my own local bookseller, so when I was contacted by Shelley, I was over the moon.

Saturday started off with a soccer game between the Yellowjackets and the Dynomites!

Me and my little Yellowjacket, Madeline.

After the game, I gathered my samples, my m&ms, my buttons, my magnets, my map, my directions, changed my clothes, ate a quick hot dog, kissed the kids & husband, and set off to the shop.

I was quite proud of myself that I did not get lost, even without a GPS.

The shop was lovely, as were the women. I was prepared to do a demonstration of the duplicate stitch, but it never came up, and we were having such fun chatting and getting to know each other, that I just let it go. I signed several books, and even signed an apron, which had been signed by several other (more well-known than me) designers.

The lovely ladies brought a fabulous spider cake, cupcakes, chocolate/caramel dipped giant pretzel sticks, meatballs, snacks, and drinks. There were vampy napkins that made me giggle. They had plenty of copies of the book to sign – and red sharpies!

My parents stopped by on their way home from visiting my grandmother, which was nice. I got to have some familiar, loving faces and they got to see their daughter in action. My mom also picked out some yarn she thought might make a good project for HER. (so I bought some – don’t tell her)

My most surreal moment was brought to me by a woman named Michelle, who snuck in behind me and told me she had a book to sign whenever I had a moment. When I turned around to chat with her, she showed me her Tourniquet scarf she knit and said my book was the first knitting book she’d ever bought for herself.

I had a twinge of a celebrity moment for just a second. I was overwhelmed by emotion and couldn’t believe that a) she knit something I designed and b) she couldn’t wait to show me. I LOVED it. I took a picture of her and then we took one together. I decided I needed to wear the Werewolf Hat so we’d both have something on. (Nevermind that it was 95 degrees outside – it was lovely and air-conditioned inside Knitting With Sandra.)

Thanks Sandra, Shelley, and all the lovely ladies at the knit shop! I had a lovely day and hope to be back soon!

Meet Designer Tanis Gray (9.3.10)

Meet Tanis Gray!!

How long have you been knitting and how’d you get started?
I have been knitting since I was 8 years old. My mom was knitting a sweater for me and I had always seen my grandmothers knitting and crocheting. I wanted to do it, too! My mom taught and got me started on the obligatory garter stitch scarf. We would spends our winter breaks in northern New Hampshire and she and I would go knit at the local knit shop up there to learn new skills and buy yarn. The woman who ran it immediately put me on DPNs and had me knitting mittens weeks after I learned to knit. The following year she had me knitting fair isle sweaters.

How did you start designing?
I started designing my own mittens almost immediately after learning how to knit. I could never find exactly what I wanted and having an artist mother, she encouraged me to design for myself. It was a great lesson in trial and error because if it didn’t work, it was just a mitten and I could rip it out. If it did work, I could knit up another and have personalized mittens. Having an unusual name meant I could never get little things with my name on it like my friends could, so I was thrilled to be able to make things my own.

What was your first design?
My first published design was an aviator scarf done a few months after starting my Yarn Editor job at Vogue Knitting for knit.1. I now have over 150 published patterns and also enjoy self publishing patterns on my own or in a bundle with friends as well as through knitting magazines and books. Designing each pattern is a unique experience.

What did you design for Vampire Knits? What inspired you?
I designed a head scarf, Tru Blood bottle cozies and a got blood? pillow. The head scarf idea came from my long hair always being in my face and the constant need for sparkle in my life. The red and silver were a nod to blood and silver bullets. The Tru Blood bottle cozies came from watching the show while drinking tea. The idea was like the paper cuffs Starbucks puts around their cups, but this was more fun. I’m fascinated by blood types and thought it was an interesting twist. The got blood? pillow was an inside joke since I am very lactose intolerant and the constantly successful ad campaign milk has is still prevalent. Everyone knows the tag line and there are so many spin offs.

Who’s your favorite vampire, or what’s your favorite vampire story?
My favorite vampire is a toss up between Dracula and Eric Northman from Tru Blood. One one hand you have the original bad ass vampire, the granddaddy of the undead and on the other an attractive vampire with authority issues. It’s a tough call.