11 June 2014

Pattern: Bloc Party cardigan, Knitty, First Fall 2014

Today is a frabjuous day, calloo callay: I have a new pattern to share with you in the First Fall 2014 issue of Knitty (or, more accurately, KnittySpin)! Bloc Party cardigan is a fingering-weight button-up with a sideways yoke knit in the most divine handspun (courtesy of my talented friend Anne of Wooly Wonka).

There's some clever short-row action in the yoke to shape it up over the shoulders, but don't worry if you've never done short rows: in this garter stitch yoke you don't even have to wrap the stitches! The body is knit simply (no shaping, but you could add your own; however, the Wooly Wonka Artio Sock with its gleaming silk content drapes so beautifully that you don't really need it), and the sleeves, as written, are 3/4 to add a little femininity (again, you could make the sleeves longer - up to you).

So, you start with the sleeves and body at the lower hems and knit your way up to join them. There's an integrated button band.

Then the yoke is worked sideways, nipping off a body stitch every other row. Your finishing work consists of sleeve seams (if I'm working a cardigan flat, I work the sleeves flat, too, to make sure my gauge is consistent), weaving underarm stitches, and putting on some fabulous buttons.

Can you believe those buttons?! They are a perfect, sparkly, purple match for this sweater. I found them on one of my button hunts early this spring at M&J Trimming. The purple sparklers don't seem to be available online, but lots of other options are (and check out my vintage and handmade button treasuries on Etsy. If you want to go on a button hunt with me sometime, let me know. I'd be happy to put together a little tour of my favorites (check in later this week for my newest discovery).

And then you'll be ready to party!

Anne has created kits if you want to spin and knit your own. She's even been kind enough to offer a kit with commercially spun yarn for the yoke, if you're not a handspinner (and aren't lucky enough to convince your bud to spin some for you :)

I showed a version of Bloc Party to Anne back when it was in commercial yarn (Jaggerspun Maine Line in Pewter and Madeline Tosh Sock in the Rhubarb colorway, which was the impetus for this design - how could I best show off this beautiful and highly variegated yarn?!). As a talented dyer and spinner, her mind immediately jumped to how great this design would work with handspun. I'd submitted it to Knitty in it's colorful iteration, but Amy thought it might have more appeal in a more moderate version. So, Anne, Amy, KnittySpin editor extraordinaire Jillian, and I put our heads together and came up with this. I love my original, but there is something so special about this version with it's beautiful color and luscious silk - party shoes are definitely required!

08 May 2014

Spring has sprung

Monday was such a beautiful day that I took my walk/trot/run/wheeze up to 125th then down along the river and back through Riverside Park. Apparently, the cool weather has kept the pollen down (for the moment), so I am trying to take advantage of the low pollen counts to get out and get this body moving. Thanks to all the knitting I do my hands are very strong, but the rest of me could use some work :)

Here are some pics that you may have seen on Monday of a few highlights along my route...

ready to run in my Team Wilson shirt

memorial to the 18th century amiable child along my running route

Clearwater sloop on the Hudson - one of the things that makes running along the river awesome

cherry blossom graffiti along the Cherry Walk

blooming tree along the Cherry Walk

violets in Riverside Park

stripes cut with a bit of sequined polka dots (putting away laundry happens after the run - there may be a Deckhand mixed in with the store-bought stripes!)

01 May 2014

Hap-py blanket

A dear friend recently lost her father quite suddenly. I pondered what to do for her until I remembered this bag of Louet Riverstone that had been sitting in my stash for quite a while. Why had I bought it? The color isn't me at all. Well, clearly I bought it for this friend. Now, what do to with it? 

I started to look at shawl and blanket patterns  when I realized that I could adapt my Hap-py shawl (phone blogging - you can find a link to the pattern on my patterns page) into a comfort blanket that would be perfect: some garter stitch simplicity + eyelet rows for excitement. I would increase until the first skein ran out (center square is worked diagonally), then use another skein to complete the center. After that I would keep track of how many lace repeats I got out of the next two skeins to get an idea of how far I could go with the last one. Funnily enough I did the same number of lace edging rows as the original shawl. 

Working on the center in the sunshine

Finished egg carton lace

Blocking glory

Ready for giving (I'm wearing it folded in half since I couldn't figure out how to take a selfie of me wrapped up in the blanket :)

The finished blanket took about 4.5 skeins (900 yds) of worsted wool, and I was able to start the lace edging with seven repeats on each side. It was such a pleasurable knit that I may need to make one to keep (two colors, perhaps?). 

This was a fairly quick, cosy, comforting knit, and I hope it will provide some comfort for my friends loss. 

Now that I'm finished with this I'm hard at work pattern writing, grading, and reviewing tech edits with nary a stitch to knit. Hopefully I can clear all the work and number stuff off my plate and get clicking tomorrow...

What are you working on the moment?

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

17 April 2014

Button Hunt

Yesterday I went on a button hunt!

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter (I post most Instagram pictures to Twitter, too, in case you're not interested in joining Instagram), or Facebook (all tweets get posted to FB, if that's more your social media speed), you already saw my adventures, but I thought I'd share some pictures (and a little video) of how the button hunt went. I had grand plans to visit both M&J Trimming and Mood Fabrics but ended up finding some beauties at M&J first. Don't worry, Mood, I'll always need more buttons and come visit you soon. (And there are even more little shops with buttons and other findings in the area that I had "in my pocket" just in case.)

Beautiful Springtime in New York


M&J Trimming's fabulous window display


Choices, choices!


A little something I picked up for myself at Kinokuniya NYC, which is up the street from M&J and across from Bryant Park. I've been to five of the Old Time places on the list, so I have a fair bit of work to do!

Since I was so button-obsessed yesterday, I also did some hunting on Etsy, creating two treasuries in the process: Handmade and Vintage. Though I have yet to shop with the vendors in the treasuries, many of them have thousands of sales and five-star reviews, and even the new vendors seem highly regarded by their customers. I may start designing sweaters just to go with some of those handmade buttons!!!

I hope Spring is treating you well (even if you got some snow like we did here in NYC) and that all your projects are clicking along. I'm working on magazine sample #3 (of 4, if you're keeping track) so am keeping very busy.

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

10 April 2014

Pattern: Upon the Spanish Main

Whew! This one has been in the works for a long time. But a beautiful Spring day seems like the perfect time to release a lovely, lacy shawl, don't you think?

Upon the Spanish Main
Wrap yourself in a luscious shawl dripping with Spanish Lace before heading out onto the deck of your galleon.  A little stockinette over your shoulders, and then the written and charted Spanish Lace flows down your back. This worked-on-both-sides lace is so spectacular, it doesn’t need a separate edging, though it will require your concentration. You will have pride of place on the treasure fleet in this extra-wide triangle shawl!

Knit with one skein of Jill Draper Makes Stuff Splendor sock yarn (or any luscious fingering weight yarn). Two-sided lace pattern provided in both charted and written formats.

Size/Finished Measurements
Width: 64 inches Depth: 19 inches

Jill Draper Makes Stuff Splendor Sock Yarn [80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere; 435 yards/398 meters per 100 gram skein]; color: Glacier; 1 skein
US6/4.0mm 29-inch circular needle
Stitch markers
Tapestry needle

20 stitches x 30 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette Stitch

Skills Needed
Casting on
Binding off
Reading charts(written instructions also provided)

09 April 2014

What I'm watching (while I'm knitting)

At the moment I seem to have gotten myself into a big sample production cycle (three of six done for the first half of the year, and I'm about 2/3 of the way through the fourth). All this means a lot of knitting, which for me means a lot of TV watching, and I can only watch my 30 Rock DVDs so many times before I become insufferable (I may already be there).

Thanks to my Entertainment Weekly subscription, I checked out Vikings - a scripted drama on the History channel. It is probably safe to say that I have never watched anything on the History channel before. No offense! Up to this point it hasn't really aired my kind of stuff. But Vikings is quite good, if you can get past the really bloody axe battles. The women are strong (and beautiful, of course), the men handsome (and burly - duh, vikings!), there are even a few handknits (check out Ragnar and his blanket below), and I've been intrigued by the Pagan vs. Christian thread that runs through it. I was able to watch the first season on Amazon Prime and the second on my cable provider's On Demand service, though it looks like you can watch all the episodes via the Vikings link above.

Ragnar in his blanket
The funny thing about Vikings is that it clarified a little something for me and Nick. We have similar taste in comedies, but when it comes to drama we diverge quite strongly. Give him something slow-moving, preferably European, and he's a happy camper, and I will take a nap. Give me action, adventure, pirates or aliens, and I'm sold while he finds something else to do. Pretty funny.

For a little whiplash I DVRed all the Alien movies, since IFC decided to run them last week. It's amazing how good Alien and Aliens are (super scary and gory but sooooo good, and I don't even like scary movies - plus, Alien passes the Bechdel Test), and how bad Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection are (unless you are some sort of crazy complete-ist like me, don't bother)! Again there is a fair bit of gore, but Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley kicks so much butt that I don't mind. She is an amazingly strong character without ever pretending to be a man. It was interesting in reading the trivia and critics's reviews (mostly Roger Ebert) that Weaver was the only female action hero who could "open a movie". I really wish there were more female heroes and superheroes in the movies these days. There was an interesting article about this problem over on The Week's website:

If you watched Girls but didn't think it was funny enough, be sure to catch up on Broad City (only the final episode of the season is on Comedy Central's website, but maybe your provider's On Demand has it). Totally raunchy and heavy on the smoke, it is so funny that it made me (and Nick) cry with laughter, particularly The Lockout (the bit on the subway). Again, this definitely comes with a warning and will certainly not be everyone's cup of tea, but Amy Poehler exec produces and the friendship between the two young women (man, I'm old) is great.

Ooh, were you alive in the 80s? Have you watched The Americans? It's really engrossing. We may have started watching it because they filmed quite a bit in our neighborhood, but Nick and I were totally sucked in. Russian spies in the 80s - sexy and suspenseful without going, well, I guess you would say "full monty", since it's on FX, not premium cable. Generally, I'm not a big fan of the hourlong drama (I just say "No" to procedurals and soapy hospital dramas), but this is good. Just wish they could have kept up the musical intensity that they created in the first episode with Fleetwood Mac's Tusk.

There's more, like I occasionally watch an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show with the girls, which they love and has inspired the kids to play "newscast", but I'd better get back to my knitting.

Do you watch movies and shows while knitting? What's your favorite? I have two more samples to go after this one, so I could use some suggestions :)

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

01 April 2014


We spent the last weekend of the kids' two-week Spring Break up in Cambridge, which was such a treat for me. To make it a treat for the girls we stayed at the Hyatt, which has a pool. And the real fun was that we got to see some of my dear friends and their kids: a playground with one family, and Drumlin Farms' Woolapalooza with the other.

Though I did not acquire any yarn, we got to see some shorn, spun, and dyed (before it started to rain). I did do a fair bit of knitting, but it's for Jane Austen Knits, so you will have to wait a bit to see it. I hope you will find it worth the wait! And then you will have to wait a bit longer for a couple more of my designs, which have been accepted for Interweave Knits Winter 2015. Whoohoo!

I posted a few of these photos on Instagram throughout the weekend, but I'm getting to know my 50mm lens (and working on editing RAW files) on my Nikon, so the other pictures are from there.

The Charles River with Fenway (the Citgo sign) and
Back Bay (the Prudential Building) across the way

The Charles River looking at Boston University

Swan on the Charles

Have you any wool?

Shorn and unshorn


Watching the shearing

The Shearing

Sheepdog doing its job

Harvard Square's Out of Town News in the rain

Adieu, Citgo