30 March 2015

Kellynch cardigan KAL check-in

{blogging from my phone - will add links post haste}

At the moment I'm about halfway through my Kellynch Cardigan. Body up to the underarms and one sleeve are on waste yarn. Just one more sleeve and then it's on the the really fun part: lace yoke and button shopping. 

Don't you love working the yoke when knitting bottom-up? You've got all the stitch patterns under control, and every other round/row (or so, depending upon yoke style) decreases the number of stitches you work. Frustratingly, I'll have to put this aside for a little while to knit up my samples for the next Jane Austen Knits, but I can't wait to get back to this one. 

Finishing up the body. Pin marks the decrease/increase line for waist shaping. This Envy colorway makes me think of Ireland in yarn form, so it was perfect to knit on St. Patrick's Day. 

This is what the slipped stitch edging looks like from the side. Love the way it highlights the different shades in this colorway.

I'd love to have you join me in this KAL! Leave a comment on this post or visit my forum.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen 

27 March 2015

quick + purly: 5 lacy pullovers

In hoping for Spring (snow showers this weekend in NYC?! sigh), I thought lighter (sport or fingering weight), lacy pullovers would be fun to explore. Plus, I've got a lace pullover in tech edit/testing now, so it's on my brain.

What's on your to-knit list for Spring?

  1. Baltoro Sweater by Marie Grace Smith $6 USD 
    Super-flattering, love the button detail
  2. Carpino by Carol Feller $8 USD 
    Low-key and lovely - a real wardrobe staple
  3. Lena by Deb Hoss $6 USD 
    Lovely in a casual context, but this would dress up beautifully
  4. Princesa Preciosa by Vera Sanon $6 USD 
    This is just perfect for Spring
  5. Princess Fiona by Amy Miller $6 USD 
    Love the fit and asymmetrical lace
There were only two pages of results in my Ravelry search, so I'm going to put on my designing cap, since I find these types of pullovers quick to knit (with the right pattern) and incredibly versatile to wear. Ooh, one more: my Wavelette $7 USD
I wear mine all. the. time.

All images from the patterns' Ravelry pages. No copyright infringement intended - just want to spread the love!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen

25 March 2015

Knitterly Details: i-cord for smarties

Have you ever used i-cord in place of your cast-on? I made some (not pretty, but helpful) videos showing you how to use i-cord as the foundation of a piece - in this instance the Ozark Wrap*, which also uses "integrated i-cord" on the sides to finish off the piece as you go and keep the edges from curling. "Idiot cord" is pretty smart!

  1. provisional cast-on (one of my overall favorite techniques)

  2. picking up stitches from an i-cord (also used for the Mermaid's Cardigan cuffs)

  3. working the first row (once begun is half done)

  4. adding the side i-cord (to work the integrated edging)
Would a video showing how to cast off with i-cord help you? Let me know in the comments. I'd love to make some more (my new camera should make videos of my hands knitting easier to create - I promise my next video will be in better focus!
Happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen
*Want to buy the Ozark Wrap from Interweave? Click here. Want to know when I release my version of the pattern? Sign up for my newsletter here.

23 March 2015

FO-tastic: An Aran for Frederick

Have you ever or are you planning to knit An Aran for Frederick? How about a few lovely FOs for inspiration?

Malika added some flattering waist shaping to hers (a la An Aran for Anne) but with Frederick's cables. I love it when you knitters really make a design your own. After all, we are the bosses of our own knitting :)

I love James's manly version in Beaverslide Dry Goods Merino/Mohair.

Tahirih went all curvy and dropped the neckline on her version. Did anyone see her at Rhinebeck 2014?

How handsome is Adrianne's son in this version? And the Wensleydale Longwool Aran looks amazing.
All images from the projects' Ravelry pages. No copyright infringement intended - just want to share the love and appreciation!

Have you knit up one of my designs? I'd love to share it with all of my readers. Let me know when you've posted an FO photo on Ravelry, and I'll feature it in an upcoming blog post so other readers can be inspired.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen

20 March 2015

quick + purly: 5 mittens

While Spring is about to ... spring, many of us still have some chilly weather to get through, so how about some pretty pretty mittens? If you're lucky enough not to need hand-warming any more this season, knitting one of these patterns would give you a nice portable project and have you ready for next Winter. Win win!

  1. How Cold Is It? (adult language alert) by Drunk Girl Designs $5.50 USD
  2. La Joie du Printemps by Heather Desserud $5.50 USD 
  3. Chawton Mittens by Anne Blayney (originally published in Jane Austen Knits) $4.50 CAD 
  4. All You Need Is Love by Freshisle Fibers (love how they are reversed) $3.99 
  5. Midwinter Rose Mittens by Marit Trudvang $5.50 USD 
All images from the patterns' Ravelry pages. No copyright infringement intended - just want to spread the love!

Today I chose five adult, stranded, fingering-weight mitten patterns, because I had to narrow it down somehow! Even still, there were eight pages of beautiful patterns. Clearly, more than one quick + purly mitten exploration is needed :)

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen

18 March 2015

Springtime for Mermaids

I think of Mermaid's Cardigan as a Springtime project: worsted-weight yarn (it's not warm yet), but with a little ventilation in those lacy sleeves and a little waist-shaping to show off your curves.

You don't feel like you have a waist after this Winter's hibernation? Don't worry - the princess seams that create this cardigan's waist shaping give you the illusion of a waist. Seriously! I am a short-waisted, apple-shaped lady. Those princess-seam lines lure the eye upward, and the fabric curves along your body, enhancing whatever shapeliness you DO have.

The lace sleeves begin with a bit of i-cord for a blouson effect, which means no increasing in the lace (I love lace, but sometimes I want it to be not hard, you know?). And the i-cord edging ties in to the i-cord cuffs, creates the buttonholes, and keeps the stockinette edges from rolling. All that from something called "idiot cord" - maybe we should start calling it "smart cord"!

So, need a flattering cardigan for Spring? Try a Mermaid's Cardigan.

Mermaid's Cardigan by Kathleen Dames

buy now

Happy knitting (and almost-Springtime)!

P.S. Want a little lace but no time for a garment? Try Mermaid's Mitts!

16 March 2015

Come join the Kellynch Cardigan KAL!

the makings of an Envy-inducing Kellynch Cardigan :)

Today marks the official beginning of my kids' TWO WEEK SPRING BREAK (two weeks, people. two. weeks.). To maintain my sanity, I need knitting. But my JAK yarn hasn't arrived yet (and it isn't easy to design and knit a sample for publication with the gang around), and the backlog of independent designs to be published means I shouldn't start on something new.

To independently publish my patterns for you, I need a sample that fits me or a model that fits my sample. Since I love wearing my designs, I prefer a Kathleen-sized sample. So, now I've started a KAL over on Ravelry to keep me motivated. Care to join us? The "official" start date was Saturday the 14th (belated Happy π Day!), but I'm not big on rules, so come when you're ready to cast on.

If you don't have the Jane Austen Knits 2014 issue, there are a couple of ways to buy it from Interweave, or you can buy the Kellynch Cardigan individual download (the kathleen dames | knitwear design version will be available in October thanks to the knitting of this sample).*

While getting the above links for you, I found this:
Save 30% Off Your Purchase at Interweave with Offer Code LUV2CRAFT

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen

*Those are Interweave affiliate links. If you purchase through one of those links, I receive a tiny commission. If you would rather buy the pattern from me directly, please sign up for my newsletter, and you'll be the first to know when it is available.

13 March 2015

quick + purly: 5 skirts

Skirts. I love the idea and think they would knit up super-fast. I mean, no sleeve island, right? There is the notion that skirts bag out and are unflattering. These are not those. I think thoughtful yarn choice and careful swatching are critical for success, but I might just be up for that.

Have you knit a skirt? I'd love to hear how it went and if you enjoy wearing yours.
  1. "She's Electric" Aztec Pattern Bodycon Skirt by Lauren Riker $5 USD 
  2. Swirl Skirt by AnneLena Mattison $7 USD 
  3. Bold Move by Lorilee Beltman $6.50 USD 
  4. Flouncy Skirt by Cindy Craig $5 USD 
  5. Take-Two Skirt by Ann Budd $6.50 USD 

All images from the patterns' Ravelry pages. No copyright infringement intended - just want to spread the love!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen

11 March 2015

Add a Jane Austen Knits bundle to your Ravelry library

Jane Austen Knits bundle from Kathleen Dames

As you may know, I will have two new patterns in the next issue of Jane Austen Knits, but I can't share them with you until this Fall (and the way this Winter is going, it feels like that day will never come).

To tide you over, now you can add three of my most popular Jane Austen Knits designs to your Ravelry library for $15 ($21 value).
  • An Aran for Anne - figure-flattering with delicate botanical cables 
  • An Aran for Frederick - a modern take on classic cables for men and women 
  • Sotherton - feminine shape thanks to twisted stitches 
Already purchased one of these patterns on Ravelry? Thank you! You will be credited that amount at checkout. Use coupon code jakbundle at checkout or click the link above to add all three patterns to your cart and apply the code (and any credits).

Would you like to join a KAL for my Jane Austen Knits designs? I need to knit new Benwick and Kellynch Cardigan samples and would love some company. Let me know what you think in the forums.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen

09 March 2015

Bringing new knitters into the world!

Just got back from a fun morning of bringing new knitters into the world. Actually, some of them already knew how to knit. But still! A dozen grade schoolers are spending the week mastering the basics of knitting. How awesome is that?!

My kids' school does something called "Integrated Projects Week" every year before Spring Break. They break everyone out of the usual grade/classroom format and bring them together in interest groups to explore different topics with different teachers (and hopefully to put some of their academic learning into real-world practice). They visit museums, parks, libraries, even the LYS; they make movies and choreograph dances and a few of them even learn how to sail a sloop. It's a really neat idea that ends with everyone exhilarated and exhausted, including the teachers.

Today is the first day of IPW, so the Knitting Bee teachers invited me in to talk about what I do and answer some questions from the kids, like "what's my favorite yarn" and "how long have I been knitting" and "how many stitches did I know". The last was from a lovely crocheter (there are lots of stitches in crochet, right?), and I got to do my little shtick about knitting being binary (knits + purls = 0s + 1s). I've added a new bit to that, though, after working with more beginner knitters:

Most mistakes you make when you first learn to knit are the "fancy" techniques you use when you are an experienced knitter.

Think about it: yarnovers (why isn't the yarn in the back? I'll just wrap it around), short rows (how many times have you picked up your knitting in the middle of a row and accidentally started back before reaching the end of said row?), knitting a stitch in the row below (brioche!).

After talking a little bit about the knitting world, we dove into casting on and knitting away. When I teach a 1-hr class, I usually cast on for beginners and knit one row before class (we learn to cast on with our second swatch; the first we knit and bind off), but since we had the luxury of time (and they will be knitting away all week), we began with casting on long-tail-style. Do you remember when you learned to cast on? I always tell my students that it will take them a while to get it, but when they do it's like a switch was flipped. I love being around when the light goes on.

By lunch everyone was knitting, some with more gusto than others ("It's haaard!" Too true, but only practice will make it easier), and everyone was excited to take a break. But this afternoon they are going to start on actual projects, so they will get to the real fun. I'm going to meet up with them, hopefully, on Wednesday when they visit one of our LYSes. And, of course, I'll visit their Showcase on Friday to see what everyone made over the course of the week.

Have you ever taught someone else how to knit? I hope you found it as rewarding as I do :)

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen

Off to talk to my Knitting Bee friends @the_school #tscipw2015

Off to talk to my Knitting Bee friends @the_school #tscipw2015 #iftttkd via Instagram http://bit.ly/1HmQrzw

06 March 2015

quick + purly: 5 stoles

Though snow is still part of the picture here, I want something lighter. Don't you? How about some stoles (rectangular shawls), but not the usual lacy ones. I lovelovelove lacy lace, but I'm not quite ready for it full-on. Plus, if you whip one of these out right away, you can wear it as a cozy scarf now and through the Spring/Summer. Here are five patterns that stand out for me right now.

  1. Mithrandir by Amy van de Laar $5 USD 
  2. Ginkgo Stole by yellowcosmo $4 USD 
  3. Nuvem by Martina Behm €3.80 EUR 
  4. Oblagon by LondonLeo $6 USD 
  5. Ruched Scarf and Wrap by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas $5 USD 
All images from the patterns' Ravelry pages. No copyright infringement intended - just want to spread the love!

Want to do your own browsing? There are five pages of lovely, lace-weight, rectangular shawls. Let me know what caught your eye.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!
xoxo, Kathleen

04 March 2015

03 March 2015

Back-issue patterns available on Interweave (plus 30% off)!

Have you been waiting for some of my recent patterns to be available as individual downloads? All designs I have published with Interweave are available in the online store. And in honor of National Craft Month (did you know that was a thing?), you can get these patterns for 30% off at Interweave using with the code LUV2CRAFT.

Save 30% at Interweave Store with Offer Code LUV2CRAFT

Quadrille Pullover - flattering and feminine, I might need a cable/bobble fix this Spring (KAL, anyone?

Ozark Wrap - fun to knit and seriously cozy to wear (love mine during NYC's deep freeze) 

Kellynch Cardigan - another flattering sweater, this time with romantic lace detail and integrated buttonbands (this is my other candidate for a KAL - let me know if you would like to join me

Strawberry-Picking Shrug - a perfect, small project to master working lace on both sides 

Back issue patterns include:

Fine print: These are Interweave's reprints of my patterns as they appeared in various magazines, not kathleen dames | knitwear design editions. They will not show up in your Ravelry library, since they have not yet been published on Ravelry. You will receive a PDF direct from Interweave. I receive a small royalty payment for each pattern sold by Interweave, as well as an affiliate micropayment if you use the links in this email. I do plan to publish my own editions of these patterns on Ravelry once Interweave's 1-year exclusivity period is complete and when there is room in my publishing calendar. I will always provide support and love for you when knitting from any version of my patterns.

Until next time: Happy knitting!