27 February 2015

quick + purly: 5 cardigans


A new feature for you, my friends: quick + purly posts.


Once a week I will share five patterns that have caught my eye. If there is a category you'd like me to explore for you, let me know.

This week, since we still have ... more winter to go, I found some lovely aran-weight cardigans for women. Cozy, quick-to-knit, with special details, and (the way this winter is going) wearable for a bit longer. 
  1. Sweet Oak Hooded Cardigan by Megan Goodacre $5CAD
  2. Winter Weeds Cardigan by Katya Gorbacheva $7USD 
  3. Long Way Home by Julia Trice $7USD 
  4. alpengl├╝hen by Isabell Kraemer 5.30EUR 
  5. Carillon Cardigan by Allison L $6.50AUD 

And just to toot my own tiny horn, since it showed up on page 3/6 of my search:
Sailor's Valentine by Kathleen Dames $7USD

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 February 2015

Putting together a pattern

As I'm preparing a few patterns for testing/editing, I thought you might be interested to see the elements that go into a pattern. Every designer has a different skill set, but with my former life as an Art Director and Graphic Designer, I am able to do the layout, photo editing (sometimes photography, too), and chart creation, in addition to the writing and grading. There are a couple of areas where I'm mulling over changes, and I'd love your feedback. I've included the Thistle Leaf Shawl pattern pages for reference :)

cover

  • title - preferably memorable and evocative of the design, not numeric (Cardigan #987, anyone?) or generic (Long Sleeve Pullover), and as a general rule not tied to the color of the sample, since I never want a knitter to feel left out because they don't like the way they look in blue, or red reminds them of their ex
  • description - also known as "romance" copy - interesting and explanatory, since I want to set the scene and highlight what makes it special, with correct grammar and spelling, of course (I was an English major, and my mother was a language arts teacher back in the day)
  • photos - a "hero" shot (one that shows the item and conveys the mood and doesn't have me looking too doofy) plus a close-up (usually of the stitch pattern) and an image that gives an idea of overall size/shape and/or the back of the item (and if there is room on the following pages, I will include additional images for illustration)

info page

  • sizing - I'm currently considering doing away with "letter" sizing completely on my graded patterns and just providing finished measurements with ease information
    What do you think about letter sizing vs. finished measurements?
  • materials list - yarn, tools, notions - I want to make sure knitters have everything they need to successfully create their version of my pattern, and I've started to include yardage approximations for each size, not just number of skeins, for easy yarn substitution
  • gauge information - usually given in Stockinette Stitch to help knitters in their yarn choice
  • skills needed - a list of which techniques are used so that knitters aren't surprised
  • notes - specifics about techniques used in the pattern and other helpful tidbits
  • abbreviation list and stitch guide - I always cross check these against the written pattern to make sure I cover every abbreviation used and provide instructions for any stitches not charted/written out
  • schematic - these are kind of my bete noire, but hopefully you can't tell that from looking at them! Generally, they are in imperial measurements, but I'm mulling over including metric (ditto for sizing)
    Would the inclusion of metric help you?
  • thanks and my blurb - I don't do any of this on my own, so I like to tip my hat to my testers, tech editor, photographer, etc., and then share a little bit about me

pattern page(s)


  • charts (if applicable) - I create all my charts in InDesign with the knitsymbols typeface - it's a very satisfying, detail-oriented part of the process for me
  • chart key - a chart isn't much help if a knitter can't understand it!
  • written version of charts - another challenging area sometimes since I'm a visual person (the written version of Upon the Spanish Main was quite complicated but turned out really well) - every time I think of going chart-only I am reminded of all the different learning paths there are in the world and the knitters whose brains cannot process the information in a chart
  • pattern - the actual written instructions, which need to be clear, efficient, and address every size for all portions of the knitted item, including finishing 

Lots of different pieces go into a pattern! And as a former Art Director I'm always trying to fit things together as snugly as possible (must. save. paper.). But that's the basic formula for how I present a pattern. Now, how I write it? That's a story for another day.

I'd love to hear what you think about those two questions. If you're a designer, I'd love to hear what elements you include in your patterns.

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

24 February 2015

Pomegranate cardi: test knitters wanted



ETA: Send me an email kathleendames at gmail dot com or a Ravelry PM, if you're interested.
Pomegranate cardi: test knitters wanted #iftttkd via Instagram http://bit.ly/1B8ZJ1o

23 February 2015

Cold(and getting colder) day calls for cosy, cabled knits!



Cold(and getting colder) day calls for cosy, cabled knits! #iftttkd via Instagram http://bit.ly/1GlZ8JU

20 February 2015

Time to pull out the woolliest of woollies! Ozark Wrap from Interweave Knits Winter 2015.



Time to pull out the woolliest of woollies! Ozark Wrap from Interweave Knits Winter 2015. #iftttkd via Instagram http://bit.ly/1w6C819

Test knit the third coming soon.



Test knit the third coming soon. #iftttkd via Instagram http://bit.ly/1CW653l

19 February 2015

Edits on an upcoming pattern (sign up for test knitting on the blog) #thistleleafpullover



Edits on an upcoming pattern (sign up for test knitting on the blog) #thistleleafpullover #iftttkd via Instagram http://bit.ly/1LhmFhT

18 February 2015

VKL NYC recap

My goodness, was that fun! So fun it took me a month to recover? No, but my designer talk at Knitty City and appearance at VKL did take a lot out of me and pushed other work out, so it's been a bit of a set of tumbling blocks over the past few weeks (plus sick kids and lots of school vacation days).

If you've never been to a knitting conference, you are in for a treat: classes, fashion shows, marketplace, knitters and crocheters you rarely see in the wild out in force. This year I decided to be mellow and only visit the marketplace after my appearance in the Knitty City booth. And then my dear friend Annie decided to come down from Boston - neither of us had been able to make it to Rhinebeck last Fall, so we grabbed this opportunity to hang out and fondle yarn together.

Annie & Kathleen at VKL
(I don't know why we are sideways - Flickr and Blogger don't always get along)
Kathleen and Annie in front of the knitted teepee!

We had fun in our handknit sweaters (I'm wearing Sotherton, and Annie is wearing her Celtic Cable Cardigan Jacket that she put together with Amy Herzog's CustomFit) and checked out lots of yarn (the VKL marketplace is on two floors of the Marriott in Times Square). In all the meeting, squishing, and chatting, I managed to take embarassingly few photos. Guess I was too busy enjoying myself!

I'm in the @knittycity booth now! #vklive
When I was "LIVE" in the Knitty City booth (thanks rear-facing camera for flipping everything around)

There were, of course, lovely knitters in the Knitty City booth. The two events (this VKL and the designer talk) I did with Knitty City last month were so. much. fun. I love meeting knitters and hanging with my peeps and talking shop.

Hanging with Lisa Barnes at #vklive wouldn't have happened without @taraswiger #starship
Lisa Barnes and Kathleen in front of the teepee (right side up!)

I met Lisa Barnes IRL - we're co-captains in Tara Swiger's Starship program. Lisa is a talented knitting teacher and designer, and it's always fun to meet and chat with people you know virtually.

Vintage button treasures in daylight. You will be able to find these and other goodies @knittycity #buttonhunt
And some buttons came home with me

The design wheels are turning on what to do with these lovely, vintage glass buttons, as well as the blue ones from Dusty's Vintage Buttons (they go by Add Vintage on Etsy):

More pretty buttons in my favorite color from Dusty's. These are Victorian glass. What am I going to put these on?
Oh, the blue ones!

I didn't take any classes this year, but the ones I've taken in the past have been great (Franklin Habit! Debbie Bliss!! Meg Swansen!!!). . And I didn't BUY any yarn, but I met and chatted with a number of lovely yarnies, including: 
  • Springtide Farm (North American cashmere in Maine - so hope to visit this summer)
  • Karen Grover of Seven Sisters Arts (formerly of String Theory and now doing her own beautiful, intelligent dying - hope to see her when I'm up in Maine, too, and hear more about the way she dyes her gradients and sets)
  • The lovely folks at Harrisville Designs (these people merit a special trip to see all the things I drool over in their Instagram feed)
  • MollyGirl Yarn (check out her colors - if you scroll down the "Our Colors" list you can see each colorway in all the available bases - so many choices!)
  • Dragonfly Fibers (gradient sets! gorgeous colors! lots of bases!)
  • Apple Tree Knits (delicate pastels and lovely gradient skeins)
  • Julie Asselin's dying class (she's such a doll and does lovely, colorful things to yarn)
I know there were more, like Neighborhood Fiber Co. whose Studio Worsted (from Knitty City, where it's the Yarn of the Month for February and 10% off) I'm using for an updated Bixby to be released real soon now, and the Long Island alpaca people (sadly, I have come to realize that alpaca irritates my skin, so I can't remember their name - sigh).

So, a great time was had by all, including me and Annie. We overpaid for sandwiches but didn't have to go out into the pouring rain for lunch (next year pack a lunch if it's raining?). If you can get yourself to a Vogue Knitting Live or any other knitting event, do it! so. much. fun.

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

Pattern layout for #pomegranatecardi is complete!



Pattern layout for #pomegranatecardi is complete! #iftttkd via Instagram http://bit.ly/1FsHuGX

13 February 2015

Airing out the stash today. Box 1 of 8. Plus the display jars of lace weight. So much yarn, so little time.



Airing out the stash today. Box 1 of 8. Plus the display jars of lace weight. So much yarn, so little time. #iftttkd via Instagram http://bit.ly/17uNotd

Doesn't get much better than your first grader writing a poem about knitting.



Doesn't get much better than your first grader writing a poem about knitting. #iftttkd via Instagram http://bit.ly/1KS3gny

11 February 2015

10 February 2015

Today I felt like wearing purple, so my Thistle Leaf Shawl (my design, @julie_asselin 's Milis yarn) and Funky Grandpa obliged. Pattern link in profile.



Today I felt like wearing purple, so my Thistle Leaf Shawl (my design, @julie_asselin 's Milis yarn) and Funky Grandpa obliged. Pattern link in profile. #blog via Instagram http://bit.ly/16OmRFO

09 February 2015

Someone's enjoying cuddle time. And you get a peek at an upcoming sweater design. #georgethecat #thistleleafpullover



Someone's enjoying cuddle time. And you get a peek at an upcoming sweater design. #georgethecat #thistleleafpullover #blog via Instagram http://bit.ly/1KBl3iQ

02 February 2015

Me and my body double, Lady Jane



Me and my body double, Lady Jane. Thanks for getting the ball rolling on naming her, @mike_j_mckenzie #latergram #ladyjane #purlypullover #blog #dressform via Instagram http://bit.ly/1x0TZjE