04 September 2015


As I mentioned Wednesday (and made official in yesterday's newsletter - subscribe already! - and on Instagram), I've decided to try a photo hop on Instagram. I have friends who did the #sewphotohop, and it looked like lots of fun, but I don't sew. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places, but I haven't found any knitting-focused hops, pads, or pods other than my Geeky Girls Knit #ggkcraftypad, and I'm not quite ready for a whole month yet. A week seems doable right now (the kids start back to school next Wednesday). Could you handle a week? It seems like a fun way to get to know other Instagrammers and make the run up to my birthday super fun.

Care to join me? I plan to give away a pattern a day of your choice, plus one of you lucky Instagrammers will win enough MissBabs Yowza to knit your own Caught in the Rigging cowl.

All you need to do is
  1. follow me on Instagram
  2. repost the photo below (I use the Repost app)
  3. tag your photos with the hashtag #kdknitphotohop

So, what's the deal with that hashtag?
  • kd - that would be me, Kathleen Dames
  • knit - we all love knitting, right? Right!
  • photo - fun photos on Instagram
  • hop - we'll have a hopping good time
Put it all together, and you've got #kdknitphotohop!

And here's the prompt list in case you can't read my handwriting:

 9/7 sparkle
 9/8 begins with K
 9/9 JOY
9/10 knitting
9/11 Jane Austen
9/12 hearts
9/13 Birthday!

Hop on over to Instagram and follow me, so I can follow you back, and let's have some fun!

I hope you have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

02 September 2015

Happy birthday from me!

OK, we have almost two weeks to go until the big day (I'll be 44 on 13 September - yay/sob), but I've decided to start giving presents to you dear ones early:

  • Caught in the Rigging is now available for free on Knitty - perfect for that special pile of wool you've been hoarding or adding to your Fall Fiber Festival shopping list.  I'm going to Rhinebeck - will I see you there?
  • Birthday sale on Ravelry: Buy two patterns, get one free - no coupon necessary. Place any three of my patterns in your cart, and you will only be charged for two. If you want, buy two, and let me know to whom you would like me to gift the third one. Share the love!
    happy birthday from me! buy two patterns, get one free
  • So, I'm kind of intrigued by these Photo-a-day things on Instagram, but I haven't found a knit-ish one that I want to join yet. Have you done one? Would you like to try doing one with me? I'm thinking one week long to get our feet wet (if it's awesome, we can do more), leading up to my birthday, maybe some prizes at the end (patterns, enough yarn to knit a Caught in the Rigging cowl, I'm open to suggestions). Let me know in the comments or via email (kathleen at kathleendames dot com) what you think.
That's it for presents and excitement today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring :)

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

01 September 2015

Pattern: Caught in the Rigging

Caught in the Rigging (photo: Nicholas Dames)

Caught in the Rigging on Knitty (FREE!)

I love cables and sweaters - the more the better! But sometimes I want something a little different: a focus on a single, intriguing cable (Tangled Ropes) and a shape that isn’t complex but is more than just a tube. Caught in the Rigging cape + cowl are the perfect combination of pattern and shape. The cowl, while keeping your neck warm, also serves as your swatch. The cape sits nicely on your shoulders thanks to its raglan shaping. Separated increases and decreases in the body portion cause the fabric flanking the cables to bias, adding textural interest. Worked from the top, down, you are free to make this cape as long as you like. Just don’t get caught in the rigging!

Caught in the Rigging (photo: Nicholas Dames)

What you'll love about knitting Caught in the Rigging:

  • working the cowl first will give you a chance to get to know your yarn/needle combination, as well as the cable pattern
  • top-down in-the-round means you can make it as long as you wish
  • carefully-placed increases and decreases keep your interest along with that fabulous cable

What you'll love about wearing Caught in the Rigging:
  • cape and cowl are separate pieces - two knits for the "price" of one
  • raglan shaping in the shoulders make for a great fit up top where it matters most
  • increases and decreases add a bias effect for additional textural interest

Caught in the Rigging (photo: Nicholas Dames)

Cowl: One size
Cape: Women’s XS [S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X] (shown in size L)

Finished Measurements

Height: 6.25 inches
Circumference: 18 inches

Chest: 28 [32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52] inches {eds., the garment circumference after increases is 36.5 [41.5, 48.5, 52, 57.25, 62.5, 67.5] inches, sized to fit the aforementioned chest sizes - not sure how you would like to handle.}
Length: 19 [19.5, 20, 20.5, 21, 21.5, 22] inches

This garment is sleeveless. To determine fit, measure around the fullest part of your bust and your upper arms (you’ll need a friend to help). This is likely about 1/3 bigger than your bust circumference. Choose a size with 2-3 inches of positive ease compared to that full circumference measurement.

Caught in the Rigging (photo: Nicholas Dames)

MissBabs Yowza - Whatta Skein! [100% Superwash Merino; 560 yds/512 m per 226g skein]; color: Oyster; 2 [2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3] skeins

Cowl requires approx. 48 g/120 yds for cowl
Cap requires approx. 220 [260, 310, 340, 380, 425, 470] g/550 [640, 765, 835, 940, 1050, 1165] yds

16-inch US #6/4mm
32-40 inch US #6/4mm circular needles

cable needle
stitch markers – of a few different colors or styles

20 sts/30 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

Skills Needed
Casting on
Binding off
Working stitches out of order (cables)
Working from a chart

How lucky was I for my photo shoot day? June 1st was a chilly, misty day, so no heat stroke for me wrapped in quite a bit of cozy wool. Plus, shooting at the Little Red Lighthouse is something I've always wanted to do (how many times have I read The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge to my kids?!). Combining the lighthouse and my Hunters gave the perfect pops of color to my beautiful grey cape (which otherwise might have been a little, well, grey).

Caught in the Rigging (photo: Nicholas Dames)

Visit Caught in the Rigging on Knitty

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

31 August 2015

Something's coming, something good...

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something's coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something's coming, I don't know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!
I do love a good West Side Story lyric.

And something good is coming: a new issue of Knitty hits the interwebs tomorrow! They say the server has been beefed up to handle first-day traffic, but let's see what we can do about that :)

You will find something of mine in it. Something with a cable. Something with an interesting structure. Something that you'll need to get yarn for at your favorite fiber festival (or maybe you already have but haven't been sure to do with that lovely pile of wool).

I think I owe you a proper #weddingsweater wrap-up post, but apparently jetlag got the best of me last week, and I haven't been able to dig up any new photos of the sweater. I do know that my sister has worn it since the big day, so that's good. Since that sweater lives in Germany, I may need to knit one up for myself. For modeling purposes, you know.

There are a few patterns in need of photographs, and the list of samples I want/need to knit keeps growing (see above), but I'm back to work, my dears, and plan to have more lovely things for you soon. Or as soon as the weather turns more hospitable (ugh, NYC heat wave right now).

Tomorrow I will tell you all about the Knitty thing and about my birthday month. Until then...

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

24 August 2015

Wedding sweater: Wedding day

This is the moment we've all been waiting for, right?

The wedding was lovely! Bride and groom were (and are) so happy. The guests were international and polyglot. Everything went off without a hitch :)

Here are a few snapshots of the beautiful bride in her very own sweater...

Buttoned-up bride

Back with eyelet raglan lines

Side details

Beautiful bride


Glowing bride showing the sweater

The happy couple by the bride-made brownie tower with sparklers
that served as the most delicious wedding cake

I'm sure there is much to say on the subject of the sweater, but jetlag is getting the best of me, and I am just so happy that my sister is happy. I'll share more details next week.

Previous steps: 1. Yarn choice. 2. Sketching. 3. Swatches 4. Math(s) 5. WIP 6. Yoke 7. Buttons 8. Sleeve Seams 9. Weaving underarm stitches 10. Buttons, part deux

Next week: Final thoughts

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

17 August 2015

Wedding sweater: buttons, part deux

What do you do when your needle won't fit through your delicate button's holes? Ugh, this happens to me more often than I would like. Sometimes I search through my tapestry and sewing needles to see if I can find one that will sneak through, but then I start to worry that I won't be able to thread the yarn onto said needle. And I do worry that using sewing thread might cut through the knitted fabric. Call it paranoia.

oh, tapestry needle, why you so big?
Not too long ago, though, I realized that I could make use of my ridiculously tiny crochet hook, used to add beads to my Emily 2 shawl to snag (carefully) the yarn and pull it through the small holes on the buttons in question.

check it: 1.0mm crochet hook
Of course, this means I can't do my usual button attachment technique, which involves a long piece of yarn and weaving my way up the back of the button band to attach the buttons at regular intervals. But that's OK.

snagging that loop o' yarn and pulling it through
As you can see above, I pull a loop of yarn through the button's hole to get things started. Here's my method for each button:
  1. cut piece of yarn 10-12 inches long
  2. fold yarn in half
  3. put hook through button's hole
  4. snag folded end of yarn and pull loop through button's hole approximately one inch
  5. thread loop onto tapestry needle and pull through button band to back above the button hole to be closed, then remove tapestry needle and hold loop with a free finger
  6. thread tails onto tapestry needle and pull through button band to back, which also serves to close up the button hole in band
  7. pull tails on tapestry needle through yarn loop
  8. pull ends snug up to button to tighten loop
  9. weave one tail through stitches above button anchor location on back of button band
  10. weave second tail through stitches below button anchor location on back of button band

uh-oh, where's that last button?!
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my panic about a missing button. Luckily, after turning my various project bags upside-down and inside-out, I found the little, precious thing. At the bottom of the project bag that holds the other project bags. But, yikes!

Finally, all the ends are woven in, buttons attached! All we need is a wedding...

Previous steps: 1. Yarn choice. 2. Sketching. 3. Swatches 4. Math(s) 5. WIP 6. Yoke 7. Buttons 8. Sleeve Seams 9. Weaving underarm stitches

Next step: Wedding day!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

13 August 2015

You know you have hit the big time when...

What do you think? Is it:
  1. you're featured on the Ravelry home page
  2. everyone wants to have you as a guest on their podcast
  3. your best, most popular pattern is being sold by someone-not-you on Etsy
And if you chose #3, sadly, you'd be "big time" me this morning and my An Aran for Frederick pattern.

(pics from my phone, as I was at the beach this morning when this all started to go down)

Ugh! Crap/shoot/sugar/effin effers/darn it to heck!*

How does this even happen? I got a nice message from someone on Ravelry (thank you, Inna!) who noticed and recognized my pattern being sold as an Instant Download on Etsy. And, get this: the vendor was charging more! Granted, only 22¢ more, but still. LittleNinni was using the Interweave/Jane Austen Knits photo, so my backup plan was to get F&W Media involved if necessary.

I reported the listing to Etsy this morning and crossed my fingers. I did also go back and read Hunter's post, since this happened to her not too long ago. I was ready to report the Intellectual Property theft to Etsy once I got home (difficult to do on a phone), but when I checked the listing had been taken down. Yay! (Don't worry - I am totally willing to file the IP stuff if it shows up again and will happily get F&W involved.)

"This Item is Unavailable"

I will keep an eye on the shop and add a scroll through some search key words on Etsy to my regular task list (aran sweater, cable sweater, lace sweater - let me know if you think of any good ones in the comments). I was aware that this happens sometimes - there are a few threads about it in the various designer groups I belong to on Ravelry - but somehow I never thought it would happen to me. Guess I still think I'm small-time or something.

Interestingly, most of the shop's patterns are for somewhat hoochie crochet bikinis and some pretty crochet beach coverups. Since I'm not a crocheter, I can't tell if those are original patterns or what the deal is. But as a knitter I immediately recognized another Jane Austen Knits pattern, which has come down since this morning. And I noticed a Vogue Knitting lace jacket pattern by Brooke Nico and the gorgeous Winter Wonderland Coat by Michele Rose Orne, so I paid it forward and dropped each of them a note on Ravelry, so they could get those patterns taken down.

What possesses people to do such things? My lovely Instagram and Facebook peeps got delightfully and righteously angry - it's good to know there are so many lovely people in my life who will rise to my defense! My answer to them (and you lovelies) is that some people are lazy and greedy, I guess. Or just plain stupid, maybe? How can you think that it's OK to sell someone else's work online?

Luckily, most people are kind and good. You all appreciate the hard work that goes into pattern creation, and you buy my patterns from me or the magazines in which they are featured or you support places like Knitty, which provides some of my patterns for free.

So, what can you do? Keep being wonderful people! Buy patterns from their designers (especially me, hehe) and support the publications you like. Don't make copies and give them away, even to new knitters who are freaking out about how much the supplies for their new passion cost. Loan them a book or pattern, if necessary, or gift them a pattern on Ravelry. If you can't afford it, save up. It shouldn't take very long to save up $7. Would you rather have an excellent pattern or a fancy cup of coffee? We can't all have everything we want in life without paying for it (much as my children might like that).

And educate other crafters in the ways of pattern creation. I wish I could create patterns and give them away, but I need to eat, too. If someone can't afford my seven-dollar-tested-edited-professional-layout-photography-graded-charted-written-calculated-yarn-amounts pattern, then they should probably consider another craft, since the yarn alone for one of my patterns is at least five to ten times that amount. And if you can spend, potentially, hundreds of dollars on yarn to knit one of my designs, you sure as hell* can spend seven dollars on my pattern.

Thanks for stopping by, keep being good people, and happy knitting!

*I try to keep profanity off my blog (even if I may have something of a passionate potty mouth IRL), but this issue really sticks in my craw. And, sometimes, a four-letter word is the mot juste. xo, k