30 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #25: Aino & Sidecar Mittens

Better late than never (just like our flight back to New York, switched from Monday to Friday) are two last patterns, and I'm glad I waited! Therese Lestander's Aino mittens are an elegant pair with simple adornment - a  Latvian braid and pretty stranded pattern on the cuff. And then there is Thea Colman's Sidecar Mittens with lacey cuffs and a clever ribbed cuff in fingering weight yarn to peek through. Both mittens are worked up in DK weight yarn, so they will go quickly. Why not knit yourself a pair in January, since mittens have quickly become THE item to knit in January. [Aino: Ravelry | Sidecar Mittens: Ravelry]

26 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #24: Winterland/Vinterland

(Apologies for the delay on the last two posts in my series - the holidays get a little crazy, don't they?)

These stranded mittens are perfect for Christmas Eve, especially for folks attending Midnight services. Wenche Roald's pattern, inspired by Norwegian winter nights and an embroidered wall hanging, is a beautiful star-lit scene in fingering-weight yarn. One finished project shows the year on the inside of the thumb! Pattern is written in both English and Norwegian. Wenche also has mitten patterns with a Dala horse and a quilt sampler - lovely, clever, and just a little different. [Ravelry]

23 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #23: Fred+Ginger Cardigan

At this time of year I want to curl up and watch Astaire & Rogers movies (I'm watching The Gay Divorcee  right now!), so Laura Chau's lovely little cardigan seemed the perfect choice for today. With set-in, three-quarter sleeves and ruffled hems, this is a lovely little cardigan that will fit in perfectly to most any wardrobe. This sweater is knit in sport-weight yarn, and the ruffles are cashmere/silk laceweight. [Ravelry]

P.S. Kieran Foley has just issued a new, top-down version of his Emily Dickinson shawl, Emily 2. And guess who just came home with a skein of madeline tosh lace in Baltic and a couple of wee boxes of seed beads that match from Loopy Yarns? Merry Christmas to me!

Falala 2010 Pattern #22: Owen

In addition to being a crazy doll lady, I am something of a teddy bear connoisseur, and Jane Watling's Owen is a very special bear, perfect for children of all ages. Go take a look at that face! Not only does he sport classic teddy looks, but he's is worked up in the round in DK-weight yarn (try Aran-weight to make a big lovey, though he is already over a foot high) and is button-jointed. 50% of the £4 price benefits the New Lanark Trust, an historic Scottish mill now spinning organic wool. Printed copies of the pattern are available directly from New Lanark Trust for £4.50, which includes postage. [Ravelry | New Lanark Trust]

22 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #21: Elphaba Pullover

Sometimes you need a little, fitted knit. Mary Anarella's Elphaba Pullover is a perfect example, and she has even included a horizontal bust dart tutorial for a perfect fit for those of us with curves up top. Written in nine sizes in two-inch increments and worked in fingering-weight yarn, it starts at the top and ends with some lovely Japanese feather lace. Be sure to check out her Inaugural Sweater, too - a jacket in Malabrigo Merino Worsted. [Ravelry]

21 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #20: Billington Bag

Ready for some felting? Snowden Becker's adorable Billington Bag just might fit the bill. Neat twisted-stitch pattern and clever details (button feet!) make for a fun project in worsted-weight yarn. Comes in two sizes. [Ravelry]

19 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #19: Virna

I'm on a hat kick - they're usually quick knits and are so useful for keeping you warm now that winter is upon us. Today's hat is unabashedly feminine with a little slouch and a lovely crocheted flower accent. My friend Jenn asked for a pattern suggestion today for a woman's hat with attached flower, and this was one of the many I found on Ravelry (that pattern search tool is amazing!). I have Jatta Sauko's Zetor Scarf, a beautiful triangle shawl, in my queue and just saw that she has some other great hats. Patterns are in Finnish and English. [Ravelry]

Falala 2010 Pattern #18: Ripley

Ysolda Teague's Ripley has been my go-to hat ever since I knit it up, and not just because I worked it up in Lobster Pot Cashmere. Clever construction in Aran-weight yarn (Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted is the called-for yarn, but there are plenty of good subs, including Malabrigo Twist) makes for a quick and satisfying knit. Plus there are "boy" and "girl" versions (garter stitch and lace headbands, respectively). While you're at it, splurge on the whole booklet, Whimsical Little Knits 2, rather than just Ripley, including the beautiful Veyla mitts and a hedgehog toy! [Ravelry | Ysolda: Whimsical Little Knits 2]

17 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #17: Damask

So maybe you don't feel up to knitting with "thread" but still feel like some lace. Give Kitman Figueroa's gorgeous Damask a go. All of her patterns are beautiful, but Damask is the one that's in my queue, and it is knit with Malabrigo Sock yarn (or any other fingering-weight yarn). Comes in three sizes, using one to two skeins of yarn. [Ravelry | Etsy]

16 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #16: Emily Dickinson

As the year draws to a close and time to knit up any more presents for loved ones runs out, I start to think about what I want in my knitted wardrobe (and what I want to knit "for fun"). And it's time for lace. Though I've never been one for beads on my knitting, Kieran Foley has made me reconsider with his beautiful little Emily Dickinson shawl - so pretty and ethereal. Just one skein of cobweb, and he starts at the bottom, which is an unusual construction for triangle shawls these days. Those beads are like dewdrops. Time to comb through my laceweight stash and choose some yarn! [Ravelry | knit/lab]

15 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #15: Brynja

I'm still in a Nordic* mood, probably because of the cold snap here in New York. Who am I kidding? I am often in a Nordic mood, spending time every summer in Door County, Wisconsin, where folks are from Sweden, Norway, Finland, etc. That's where I first saw Poetry in Stitches and bought Poems of Color, Norwegian Handknits, and Northern Knits (all lovely books I highly recommend).

And just in case you haven't yet discovered The Icelandic Knitter, go take a look at Brynja. Isn't that a pretty sweater? I love the original color combination (and the ribbon-lined placket). Kits are available, but if you are stash-diving, Lett-Lopi is an Aran weight yarn, so, mmmm, Malabrigo might be an interesting substitute, or perhaps Shelter, which is very lofty like Lopi. [Ravelry | The Icelandic Knitter]

P.S. I'm so in love with Theodóra, The Icelandic Knitter doll!

*Do you consider Iceland to be Nordic? If not, why not, and what more-general term would you use for these European countries of the Far North? Totally curious and 

Falala 2010 Pattern #14: Santa Lucia doll

I missed Santa Lucia Day (December 13th), but we can get ready for next year by making this adorable Alan Dart doll now. And Starboy comes along, too! [Ravelry | Alan Dart]

If you want to be Santa Lucia yourself, try this lovely candle crown (much safer than the real thing!), free from Sara Swärd. [Ravelry] It would also look great as a centerpiece.

13 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #13: Modern Garden Cardigan

If you are a moderately speedy knitter, I bet you could knock out one of Veera Välimäki's adorable Modern Garden Cardigans before the holidays. I love her modern, minimalist sensibility, and the cardigan cleverly has all shaping in the lace motifs. Knit in bulky yarn, and coming in five sizes, this is a great pattern for gifting (or keeping for yourself - what about working it up with two strands of Dream in Color Starry for some New Year's bling?). [Ravelry]

12 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #12: Elise mitten

With the rain and the wind roaring outside today, it seems a perfect time to think about stranded mittens. And Johanne Landin's Elise mittens are so pretty! I have one (1) almost-finished Selbu-style mitten almost finished, but it may have to stay in UFOland a while longer, once I choose two yarn colors. [Ravelry]

Falala 2010 Pattern #11: The Miss Flitt series

Beth Hahn has written and illustrated three of the four planned books of her Miss Flitt series, a 19th-century mystery with knitting patterns. Her watercolors are lovely, and I hope to collect them all soon (there are both PDF downloads and printed books). I love the whole shebang and am having a hard time selecting just one knit for you. For a quick project? The Annabel Lee Neck Cozy or the Amity Capelet. And for something that will keep you busy a little longer, perhaps the worsted-weight Emma Cardigan. [Ravelry | Miss Flitt]

10 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #10: Izzy Wellington

I have a thing for knitted toys (see Matryoshka Japonais) and for dressing up dolls. Thank goodness I have two girls! And Anita Wheeless's Izzy Wellington is just such a doll. At 18" high, with dress and dancing slippers (all felted), she is ready to be admired and played with - just like dolls are meant to be. [Ravelry | blog]

Falala 2010 Pattern #9: Kimono Wrap Cardigan

I'm not sure when I started reading Hilary Smith Callis's blog, The Yarniad, but I've been reading it long enough to know that when the Giants won the World Series, she would be over the moon. And I'm pretty sure I've been reading it long enough to have seen her simple, elegant Kimono Wrap Cardigan when it was something she just knit up. These days she is designing lovely knits for KnitPicks's Independent Designer Program and Tess Designer Yarn, as well as the lovely (and popular) Citron on Knitty (another great knit you should add to your queue). Sized from XS-3XL and worked in a Worsted weight yarn, you might be able to squeak this one through before Christmas.[Ravelry | KnitPicks | blog]

Falala 2010 Pattern #8: Brigade

Something for the guys, you say? How about Brigade by the talented Todd Gocken*. Knit up in Cascade 220 (sooo many color possibilities!), this would be a handsome sweater for any man in your life. And what about that handsome model? [Ravelry | blog]

*I had the pleasure of attending Franklin Habit's Photographing Your Knitting class with Todd some time ago.

Falala 2010 Pattern #7: Last-minute Stockings

Ysolda is such a wonder: talented and adorable, she creates knits everyone wants. Why not knit up some of her last-minute stockings so Santa has some place to put all that yarn? [Ravelry | blog]

Falala 2010 Pattern #6: Cascade (children's sweater)

Do you have a little person in your life? Check out the sweet little sweater (sized 3 months to age 6) published in the online magazine Petite Purls. Designed by Raya Budrevich, Cascade (a cascade of lacy leaves down the placket of the cardigan) uses madeline tosh Vintage (one of my favorite yarns). [Ravelry | Petite Purls]
P.S. Apologies for the delay - I've been prepping for the kids' school craft fair, and the last few days have been crazy as a result. Catching up now...

05 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #5: Lady Jane Gloves

I guess it's the Anglophile in me that just swoons over these fingerless gloves with their puffs and bows by Beth Wolden. The Lady Jane gloves would look great layered over plain gloves for a little extra warmth and outfit oomph this winter. [Ravelry | Knit Picks | Cotton Gin and Tonic]

Falala 2010 Pattern #4: Egg Nog

From one of my favorite knitting peeps comes this great little cardi to throw on over just about anything. Egg Nog is written for sizes small to extra-large and works up quickly (short sleeves = no sleeve island to get trapped on) in Berocco's Ultra Alpaca, a dreamy and well-priced yarn, though I bet it would look great in just about any worsted-weight yarn. [Ravelry]

03 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #3: Chanukah Dreidel

How about a lovely felted dreidel as the festival of lights gets under way? Amanda Kaffka has one that is uuick to knit in super bulky yarn. She also has some cute Christmas stockings on her designer page. [Ravelry]

02 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #2: Where the Wild Things Are pullover

Ms. Tiny Owl Knits has such a wonderful (and literary) imagination! Last year I recommended her Amy March slippers, and this year I've discovered her Where the Wild Things Are pullover, complete with hood and crown. Let the wild rumpus begin with this quick-to-knit-in-bulky-yarn pullover! [Ravelry]

01 December 2010

Falala 2010 Pattern #1: Snowbird

It's that time of year again! I'm not going to limit myself to free patterns this year (in fact, I hope to emphasize independent knitwear designers but don't want to hamper my searches), so for the next 25 days you will find suggestions of fun patterns to knit/queue. Some will be quickies that you could make for a holiday gift and some will be longer-term projects. Happy holidays!

First up, Heidi Kirrmaier's (PipiBird on Ravelry) Snowbird, a perfectly named, cozy, drapey cardigan. I must confess that I own this pattern, though have yet to knit it up. And I have the yarn (Jo Sharp/Kathmandu Tweed) in my stash! Perhaps I'll get to it once the holidays are over, since this is one I'm sure I would wear a lot. All Heidi's patterns have a simple elegance to them without their being boring. Snowbird is $6.50 and is sized from XS to 3XL. [Ravelry]

29 November 2010

Wish List, Winter 2010

Sorry for being offline for so long, but I've been busy knitting stuff for the kids' school craft fair, throwing Isobel's birthday party, traveling to Chicago for Thanksgiving, and the usual parenting duties. I'm hoping to get back to the Twitter sweater, but it's definitely not happening for the Marvelous Mohair competition, which kind of takes a load off my back.

It's that time of year again, time to answer all those people wanting to shower you with gifts. Hehe. But, seriously, I always have fun thinking about the lovely things that are out in the world. Here are a few I'm hoping for...
  • Knitpicks Options Zephyr set [link]
  • madeline tosh yarn (ANY kind, ANY color, ANY amount!) or the Magnolia Society yarn club (hopefully sign-ups for the next go-round will open soon - which color family? how to choose?! probably jewels, but they are all gorgeous) or a gift certificate to an LYS (Loopy Yarns in Chicago, Three Bags Full in Northbrook, Knitty City in Manhattan, and Purl Diva in Brunswick all carry tosh yarns - hint hint) [link]
  • Cloak Bag for my DSLR, which will encourage me to take it out more (I hope) [link]
  • Anthology: Living with Substance & Style - a new PRINT magazine! There are so few good ones left (I still miss you, Domino and Blueprint!), that I'd love to support this new one [link]
  • Some Spun-Outs, especially SO5 Bohus Yoke Sweater; SO7 Sweaters, Neck-down; SO49 Saddle-Shoulder Aran Sweater; and SO29 Bavarian Jacket [link]
  • Ork Posters (screen prints for preference), especially Manhattan on orange butcher paper, Boston Blue [link]
  • Jo Malone cologne set or 154 [link or link]
  • lots of stuff on my Amazon Wish List [link]
  • and, of course, my Etsy Favorites List - crafters of the world, unite! [link]

30 October 2010

Twitter Sweater, week 1

Two skeins Blue Moon Fiber Arts Geisha in Downpour (1990yds) US6 circ ndl Stitch markers 1/2 yd elastic 18st/26r over 4" st st

CO40sts provisionally. Work flat: Purl row, knit row, p row, k 3 rows, pm, join to work in rd & k 3 rows; pick up prov sts & ktog w/next rd.

Cont sleeve: dbl sts every other rd 3x. Work even over 160 sts for 3". K1, k2tog, k to last 2, ssk. K rd. Rpt 2 rds til 66 sts remain.

Work sleeve even until measures 20" from decreases. Set aside. Work 2nd sleeve same as 1st. 

I may have to set the Twitter Sweater project aside for a little while, since I'm going to have a table at the kids' school Craft Fair in December.

27 October 2010

I'm in!

Yes, a sweater design of mine will appear in the Deep Winter issue of Knitty! As you might imagine, I am beyond thrilled. Details will have to remain under wraps until January, but I hope it is well received and leads to more good things.

Speaking of online knitting magazines, have you seen Tangled? They're bi-craftual (knitting and crochet). Good-looking patterns, some free; sweaters look to come in four sizes and cost $6.50; accessories are $5. Neat stuff with yarn made from t-shirts called "Tarn". I thought the skirt pattern in knit or crochet was pretty interesting.

If that weren't enough, Ennea Collective also recently joined the interwebs. Their focus is on knitting, spinning, and weaving, really on using handspun in knitting and weaving projects, and they are based in Canada, so prices are $CAD. Beautiful shawls are $7.50, accessories are $4 (mitts, cowl), and there is a free phone cozy pattern. Interesting articles about spinning and fiber, as well as a weaving calculator. Their second issue is coming in December, so it looks like they will be a quarterly. E.T.A. Whoops! They publish bi-monthly.

I'm really happy to see more online publications join Knitty and Twist Collective and thrilled to see more patterns offered for sale. Free patterns are all well and good, but if our craft is to progress, we need to start supporting the creatives. Self-serving? Perhaps, but I'm pretty sure I'd still be upset by the way some publications treat their talent, even if I weren't designing. It's a complicated issue, no?

In other news, I'm working on the Twitter sweater and think I've gotten the sleeve volume I'm looking for. Not as voluminous as the original, since I'd like to wear this more than once, but still, I think the inspiration will come across. Once I finish the sleeve I'll snap a shot, so you can see, too. ... Just realized that I didn't tag some tweets with the #kdsweater tag, so I have to figure out what to do about that. I plan to gather the sweater tweets once a week and make a blog post, so they'll be easier to find in the future (when I'm famous, ha).

And I've got to see about another skein of Berocco Vintage for my new nephew's gift.

The kitteh-ns are settling in nicely. Little George slept next to me most of the night rather than under the couch. And Henry waits to catch my eye for a shoulder cuddle - he's not a lap cat but a shoulder cat.

25 October 2010

Twitter Sweater: Body Construction

One more thought on sleeve volume that I forgot to mention yesterday: increasing the sleeves by *also* increasing the needle size, progressively. I'm more into this idea than I would have thought. Sometimes changing needle size to change the garment size seems like a cop-out from a design point of view; however, I've been pondering sheer vs. solid fabric for this project, so opening up the stitches for a portion of the garment would add an airiness to the sleeves that may be desirable.

But back to today's topic! The more I think about this project, the more I am sure I want to work it in the round, sleeves and body. Going with flat for part and in-the-round for another could cause gauge problems. with the body of the sweater, since I am going to work in the round, there really are only two options, either top-down or bottom-up.

I'm most comfortable doing a raglan-style yoke when working top-down. I know that you can do other seamless yokes from the top, but I haven't tried that yet, so I'm not sure this is the time to experiment with that. Raglan lines would be OK, though the original dress has set-in sleeves; however, that's because it's dress-making, sewn fabric, whereas, I am making the garment while making the fabric, so I can do things a little differently. I'm still not sure how high I want the neckline - if this is for me, I want it a little more scooped. Having a bust, the high crewneck the dress has would not be particularly flattering. Again, the dress is to be inspiration not a rigid pattern to copy in knitted fabric.

Since I have done seamless yokes from the bottom-up in a few different ways (raglan, saddle, and set-in), I feel more comfortable working that way. Holy guacamole, working a seamless set-in sleeve was fun! Almost as magical as the first time I worked a cable. Anyway, I'm still not sure which yoke style is best for this project; it may be that a traditional round yoke, usually used for sweaters with stranded colorwork in the yokes. The round yoke would be the subtlest, the style that would distract the least from the sleeves.

Well, there is a third option, which is to cast on provisionally at an appropriate spot (right under the bust, I think), work up through the bodice and then pick up those stitches and work down, probably until the yarn runs out.

I like option #3! Of course, I still have to solidify a yoke style decision, but I'm getting there, I think. It really is helpful to write this down.

22 October 2010

Twitter Sweater: Sleeve notions

Apologies for the delay on posting, but we brought home a couple of kittens Sunday, who are adorable and wonderful, but carrying their crates home and then getting Penelope out of her crib wrenched my back. And then my newest nephew was born on Monday night, so I've been working on something for him, while trying to take it a little easy on the ol' vertebrae.

So, sleeves. This sweater is all about the sleeves, isn't it? The most obvious choice is to work them in the round, increasing, perhaps pi-wise from the cuff, until the circumference is big enough, then continue to work up, decreasing at an appropriate rate towards the armscye. Another in-the-round option is to pick up around the armscye and work downwards towards the cuff. Of course, either of these could be worked flat instead and then seamed, though working in the round tends to go more quickly, just because you keep going 'round and 'round rather than back-and-forth.

Now for the crazy option: short rows! Wait, it's not *that* crazy. This would be another way to incorporate the necessary volume in the sleeves. This would require the sleeves to be worked flat, but I'd be working back and forth from armscye to cuff, incorporating longer and shorter short rows to create the shape. This would be a cool option because it's more *interesting* technically, and it would turn the direction of the fabric sideways, which is also interesting.

However, would that interesting element distract from the overall effect? When you look at Mme. Grès's gown, you don't look at the fabric, you look at the shape, the dramatic volume. But does that mean that a knitter (a.k.a, fabric creator) should ignore the fabric? I really like the way Geisha looks in stockinette, so that is the fabric I will create. Perhaps it's time to swatch some short rows to see how that works.

No pictures of the sweater today, but I bet you'd like to meet the kitteh-ns in case you haven't seen them on Facebook or Twitter (and if you're on either of those, friend/follow me!):
George and Henry

13 October 2010

Twitter Sweater: Yarn Choice

Geisha on Twitpic
Geisha in Downpour from Blue Moon Fiber Arts
I had a long debate with myself about yarn choice for this sweater, obsessing over Louet's Kidlin Pixie/Laceweight before realizing I had some beautiful Geisha in my stash.

Kidlin is a "traditional" mohair yarn with a twist - in addition to the usual nylon binder thread, which holds the mohair fibers in a twist, there is a thread of linen. This linen takes the dye differently than the mohair fiber, giving the yarn a dimensionality that traditional mohair yarns don't have. Mohair takes dye beautifully, soaking it all up and glowing with it (see Kidsilk Haze, which uses silk instead of nylon for even more sheen - that link does not do the yarn justice). Linen doesn't seem to absorb dye evenly, so it ends up mottled and lighter than the mohair. All this to say it has a depth and ... rusticity that can really add to a project.

With the Kidlin I had been having a hard time deciding what color to work with. Something close to the inspiration dress (All Spice or Amber), a shade that just spoke to me (Flag Blue, Regimental Red), or whatever was available at the OYS (Doeskin, Smoky Grape), since no LYS near me stocked the yarn? In the midst of my obsessing, I reorganized my stash (many thanks to Nick for all his hard work moving the Expedit in question) and reacquainted myself with some hidden gems, including two big skeins of Geisha (64% Kidmo (kid mohair), 20% Mulberry silk, 16% nylon; 995 yards, each) in the subtle yet intriguing Downpour colorway. This one varies from a dusty brown to silver with some taupe and peachy tones in the mix, all very subdued yet shiny from the silk and mohair, really beautiful and subtle.

Could this work? The inspiration is so over-the-top, design-wise, yet the color Mme. Grès chose was quiet, letting the beautifully impractical sleeves shine in all their silk paper taffeta glory. Now, I love a variegated yarn, perhaps more than the next knitter and, after a few years of knitting, I know the drawbacks of those colorful skeins - flashing, pooling, stripy-ness. But in my swatch these subdued shades seemed to flicker, shimmer, not mix but mingle. So, we're going to give it a go.

The swatch you might be able to see at the bottom of the photo (from my phone, hence the lower quality) is worked in stockinette with garter stitch borders on US6 needles. This yarn is classified as a fingering weight, with a suggested gauge of 28 stitches over four inches; however, most knitters use it for lace, and I'm getting 18 stitches over four inches here, which I think will work for the body of the sweater. I don't want a tight gauge, since I want room for the mohair's halo to get in on the action, plus mohair is just so warm that a tight gauge would make for a little hot box. Since my skin is so sensitive, I plan to wear this with a camisole underneath anyway, so a loose gauge isn't a problem from a modesty perspective. I am wearing the swatch under my shirt at the moment without any discomfort, just to see what I might be in for.

Tomorrow: Ideas on sleeve construction.
Last night: Really enjoyed the color class with Amy Hendrix, and a skein of Merino Light in the Van Dyke Brown colorway may have come home with me. The fingering-weight superwash single-ply yarn is really interesting, and I have a sweater that just needs some finishing touches in another colorway of this yarn. So, yeah, I'm sure I needed more.

12 October 2010

Twitter Sweater

As you may know, Vogue Knitting is sponsoring the Magic of Mohair design competition. Designs will be shown in a fashion show at Vogue Knitting LIVE in January. I've been going back and forth, round and round, trying to decide what I think about this competition. The exposure for the winning design would be invaluable, but the designer gives up all rights to their design - it becomes the property of VK, as does the knitted sample. As a self-publishing designer, I don't want to give up my rights (and I don't want to give up a sweater I've worked so hard on, either). All that's assuming I win or "place", hehe

While I'm making up my mind about submitting, I thought I'd start tweeting about my design process. I'll probably cover some of the same ground in a little more depth here on the blog. If you want to follow, be sure to check out my Twitter feed, and I'll be using the tag #kdsweater.

First question: What to design? An "original ... women's fashion garment". I've got a ton of ideas for ladies' sweaters, and my visit to the Brooklyn Museum at the beginning of the summer added even more. Especially, an amazing silk paper taffeta evening dress by Madame Grès (on the right).
Not the greatest picture, but the dress is amazing. The volume of the sleeves is crazy, in a good way. And inspiring. Isn't mohair the perfect fiber for creating that kind of volume? Tomorrow we'll talk about the yarn I'm using.

P.S. I'm going to a color workshop at Knitty City tonight with Amy Hendrix of Madeline Tosh. Time to sharpen my colored pencils!

03 October 2010

You Know You're a Knitter (part 1)

... when you see a television listing for "Twisted Sisters" and you immediately think of Twisted Sisters Knitting, not the lady wrestling thing that it apparently is. Thanks, MSNBC, for getting my hopes up.

In more exciting news, I've submitted patterns to Knitty and Twist Collective in the past month, so am keeping my "pointy sticks" crossed. If they aren't accepted, I will publish them myself. And then I have some other designs I'm working on.

For now I'm taking a wee break now to knit up a special request: a Hap-style blanket (variation on Ysolda's from Whimsical Little Knits 1, doing the center panel on the diagonal) for my stepson. I'd made one for Nick for Father's Day, and Stevie wants his own. Nick's uses some of this natural, cream-colored Lopi with Manos del Uruguay in this fiery red for contrast. Stevie's uses the same Lopi (I have a LOT of it) with two strands of this gorgeous blue from Wellspring Woolens (thanks, Annie!). This Poppi's Worsted Plus is an icelandic wool from the Minnesota River area, so it's a perfect complement to the Lopi. It's all a little too itchy for me to think of having next to my skin, but Stephen is always snagging his Dad's blanket, so I know he'll like it. And it's nice to work with. Sometimes you just want some good ol' wool, you know?

Speaking of "sensitive skin", it turns out that I am allergic to Propylene Glycol, which is in SO MANY THINGS, Gallate Esters, which luckily are not as common, "fragrance" (seriously?! even things that are unscented often have masking fragrances in them), and dust mites. At least I know what to avoid, even if some of those things are virtually unavoidable. Hopefully, I can avoid the horrible eye area rash of this past spring in the future (or I'll have to start hiring models to photograph my knits on, which is not in the budget :)

Darn! I thought I had some photos to share of Thursday night's book signing at Knitty City, but, having just checked (and deleted) them, my camera did a terrible job of capturing Julie Turjoman, author of Brave New Knits. I had seen an advance of the book at Purl Diva in August so was excited to meet Julie and snag my very own copy. It's a book I'm really looking forward to reading, as well as to knitting some of the patterns. Happily, I ran into the Subway Knitter herself, as well as Connie Chang Chinchio, Kristen Kapur, and Melissa Wehrle, who are profiled in the book. I had hoped that Mr. Brooklyn Tweed might make his way uptown for this, but as he was announcing his new yarn line, Shelter, the next day, I guess it makes sense that he wasn't there. Still, his photographs are lovely.

I know there's more to catch up on (new yarn stashed, an adjustment to the home of the stash, and a raft of other books to talk about), but this will have to suffice. Hope you had a great weekend!

25 September 2010

In Memorium: Riley

Riley in Winter

As those of you who follow me on Twitter or are a friend on Facebook know, my sweet cat Riley died at the end of last month. He was such a sweet boy, patient with the kids, soft as a kitten, and well-behaved around yarn. Every night after the children went to bed, he'd roost behind my head, me on the couch, him on the table. At bedtime he'd curl up next to me, effectively pinning me into one sleeping position. We all miss him. Soon we will bring home a new ball of fur, but we needed a little mourning time.

I realized that I'd avoided blogging the past few weeks, except for the new scarf pattern, because I knew I needed to blog about Riley. I even avoided putting birthday wish list together (something I usually enjoy immensely) or acknowledging this blog's fourth anniversary (I've babbled about knitting for FOUR years?!). Losing my grandmother and Riley in the same month has done a number on me, but it's time to pull myself together (all the way - I've gone part of the way getting the kids back in school and all). So, there will be more blogging, more pictures, and some new patterns coming down the pike. I might even have a contest, so, please, keep reading. And give your pets an extra hug for me.

17 September 2010

Pattern: Captain Austen's Scarf

I've had an idea for a red captain's scarf for quite some time (think "Captain Jack Sparrow", if you've seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies). Then, one day I walked into Yarntopia and saw this Malabrigo Twist yarn in Ravelry Red - perfect color for what I had in mind and, oh my, what a yarn! All the softness and richness of color that you love in Malabrigo Worsted with multiple plies to keep pilling at bay. 

A cozy scarf is a must for walking the deck of your ship, and what better way to dress it up than with a little of Frank Austen’s fringe? He worked the very same fringe (on some curtains) while on shore leave with his sister Jane. Luscious, bulky Malabrigo Twist makes for a quick knit, and the reversible Seaweed stitch pattern will keep your interest until it’s time to tie that fringe and board your ship.

The pattern is available here on Ravelry, or you can purchase it directly using the button below.

Pattern: Captain Austen's Scarf

Apologies for the blog silence - I've been, alternately, very busy and getting away from it all, but that's for a different post. I have a new pattern!

I've had an idea for a red captain's scarf for quite some time (think "Captain Jack Sparrow", if you've seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies). Then, one day I walked into Yarntopia and saw this Malabrigo Twist yarn in Ravelry Red - perfect color for what I had in mind and, oh my, what a yarn! All the softness and richness of color that you love in Malabrigo Worsted with multiple plies to keep pilling at bay. 

A cozy scarf is a must for walking the deck of your ship, and what better way to dress it up than with a little of Frank Austen’s fringe? He worked the very same fringe (on some curtains) while on shore leave with his sister Jane. Luscious, bulky Malabrigo Twist makes for a quick knit, and the reversible Seaweed stitch pattern will keep your interest until it’s time to tie that fringe and board your ship.

The pattern is available here on Ravelry, or you can purchase it directly using the button below.

Nick took the photographs for the pattern, as usual, this time at Conservatory Water in Central Park. I thought you might enjoy this outtake. I LOVED sailing the boats, but I don't think Isobel really appreciated that :)


27 August 2010

In Memorium: Kathryn Amelia Wilson

After an amazingly full life of 94 years 356 days, my darling grandmother passed away earlier this month. Since this August 15th was to have been her 95th birthday (a milestone any way you look at it), we planned a celebration for her in Freeport, Illinois - her hometown for all of those years. In addition to the little partay the family planned, I designed a shawl for her - a pi (circular) shawl to be named Perseid Shower in her honor, since her birthday always comes at the end of the annual meteor shower of the same name. It has a variety of leafy and starry motifs that take you out from under the shelter of a tree to a starry, meteor-filled sky.

So, this shawl. I cast on at the beginning of July (once we were up in Maine) and immediately had problems. My second chart was wrong, but I didn't realize this until I completed the second repeat. I got frustrated, put the shawl in timeout, knowing I had lots of time until mid-August, and cast on a sweater (more on that later). Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and I know I need to get this show on the road. The charts are revised, and I'm ready to go. Things go pretty well until just after the last increase, when I discover that I'm off by a stitch at the end of the round. Ack! This is when I have 576 stitches on the needle. Five hundred seventy-six. And the yarn is the super-thin and super-duper sproingy Jade Sapphire Lacy Lamb. And the stitches to be tinked alternate between sl1-k2tog-psso and sl2-k1-p2sso. Impossible. Just maddeningly, frighteningly impossible. If you manage to discern the slipped stitch(es), it might work. But the yarn is so fine and sproingy that you're more likely to have stitches slip off the needles and bounce out of the row below. Suddenly you have runners into some pretty complicated lace.

Did I use lifelines? Of course not, because I'm an idiot. But after tinking back what seemed like hours, leaving a raft of coil-less safety pins in dropped stitches in my wake (and only a small fraction of the stitches tinked), I knew something had to be done. So, I bought a gigantic cone of crochet cotton, laid the poor shawl out, stretching it onto two needles, and wove the thread through the last two increase rounds (the inner round was for "insurance" in case something went horribly wrong again). It didn't take as long as I thought it might, and I started to feel better immediately. I also realized that my plan for which lace pattern to use after the last increase needed to change - this whole thing had been Fate/God/Karma/What-You-Will's way of saying I'd made the wrong decision when waffling over the plan at the 576 stage. OK, OK, I'm listening!

That was Wednesday, August 4th, and I spent that Knit Night ripping back to the lifeline and putting the stitches back on the needle. And I have to say I'm pretty proud of my lifeline weaving - I managed to weave all the stitches in the correct row (it helps that it was the increase row: yo, k1 all the way around). I started the new lace plan on those stitches and persevered, knowing I had a car ride from Maine to NYC to put a big dent in the last section before the border and then a few more days for border knitting before blocking needed to happen; I knew such fine yarn would block in a matter of hours.

Unfortunately, that Friday was a flurry of phone calls and messages about my grandmother. She was short of breath and taken to the emergency room. She was admitted to the hospital with fluid in her lungs. They had eased that situation and she was resting, then sleeping, then restless. And, suddenly, she was gone.

Honestly, we were all surprised. She had pulled through many things before; she was a tiny lady by the end of her days (under five feet, though she was half a foot taller in the prime of life - eat your yogurt and take your calcium, ladies), suffering through fractured vertebrae due to osteoporosis, but she was so strong, such a force to be reckoned with that I think we thought she would always conquer whatever health problems arose.

She was gone, and we had to get back from Maine to New York and then out to Northwest Illinois to say goodbye. I worked some more on the shawl on the drive back to New York, thinking I would give it to my aunt or just hold onto it. But the wind had gone out of my sails. It sat in my bag on the plane, and in the car, and on our annual family trip to Wisconsin. It's sitting in there, still. I'll take it out at some point, but it's going to be a while, I think.

There's more going on knitting-wise, and I promise to blog about that "real soon now". In the meantime, if you still have your grandparents in your life, give them a call or stop by if you're lucky enough to live close.

Three out of four generations of Wilson women (Christmas 2009)

27 July 2010

FO: Matryoshkas (Pink/Blue and Red/Purple)

My former roomies have two cuties, one of whom arrived this winter. Since you can't give the baby a present without something for the big sister (in the interest of continuing family harmony), it took me a little while to decide what to do (why, when it was obvious what I could knit for two little girls?) and get it done with my own two running around.

I really liked knitting these with colors that are close in saturation - it gave them an almost damask feel. As you can see I changed things up here and there. My laz y daisies were too lazy to contemplate, so the babies are in unadorned clothes. I also knit these on US4s and achieved a denser fabric, which is better for stuffies.

I tried to weigh them as I went along to determine how much of each yarn I used, but I wasn't as diligent as I hoped. However, each main color used less than half a skein per set of dolls and mere scraps of the hair/eye/lips/cheek yarns.

BTW, what do we think of my new camera phone? Far better than my old camera phone, though still not replacing my DSLR. It's a Palm Pre, and I really like it. There was no way we would get iPhones with AT&T's abysmal coverage in NYC. And the Pre can also serve as a mobile hotspot, which is perfect for our time up in Maine, since we don't want to subscribe to a service when we are here so sporadically. Plus going back and forth between the Pre's interface and my iPod Touch keeps me mentally on my toes.

21 July 2010


Did you hear me? Aran Knitting!!! Alice Starmore's beautiful book of cables is being republished by the wonderful people at Dover. Due out 16 September 2010, just a few days after my birthday - what a perfect present to myself :) I've been pondering "keeping" the copy from my parents' public library for years, but now I can be a good girl.

Pre-order yours NOW!

30 June 2010

A morning in Brooklyn

There are pictures to upload from today, but we're in the process of packing up to head to Maine tomorrow. However, I just wanted to say that I had a super-inspiring morning visiting American High Style at the Brooklyn Museum (Worth, Schiaparelli, Mme. Gres, Charles James - swoon to Mr. James! - amazing architectural, engineered gowns). They've recently gifted their massive clothing collection to the Met and have some sort of reciprocal arrangement. Anyway, I had to get over there before leaving town, since the show ends 1 August 2010, and I'm so glad I did. Hopefully I'll be able to hit the "sister" show at the Met before we head to Wisconsin in August, since that one doesn't close until 15 August. If you have a chance and are in New York, don't miss! [link]
P.S. Thanks, sweetie, for watching the girls!

Interweave to publish eMags

Interweave is getting into "eMag" publishing. First, they're coming out with a quilting publication. But for the knitters the more interesting news is that they are going to publish a sock magazine online, Sockupied. [link]

20 June 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Dad (and Nick, of course)!

Doesn't he look great in his Dennis tie? It's not too late to buy a copy of the pattern, though it is too late to knit one for him today. It's quick, but it's not that quick a pattern.

I hope you're having a great Father's Day.

2wksweater Challenge: Wench

So, I decided to follow Kate Gilbert on her two-week sweater challenge (she had to knit up a sample sweater in two weeks for a Twist Collective photo shoot deadline). And between that and work and the kids' school years coming to an end, I haven't had time to blog.

I've had three hanks of Louet Euroflax in my stash since ... 2007? 2006? Quite some time, anyway, and those skeins had fully matured. Originally I had planned to knit the Lacy Skirt with Bows by Kat Coyle out of that yarn, but when I'd swatched on US4s, I actually broke one of my Bryspun needles (they are plastic, so it happens, especially when working with such an inflexible yarn).

But I'd come around to the idea of a sweater (and Kat's skirt is still in my queue awaiting the appropriate yarn - love the combination of lace and ribbon) with this linen yarn, at a larger gauge. With US8 aluminum HiyaHiya needles, I cast on my idea for a drawstring-neck sweater (the sleeve to be precise), and away we went.

Because the linen produces such a drapey fabric, I decided not to include any shaping in this one, so it's really just three straight tubes (in two different circumferences) with eyelets thrown in here and there for drawstrings and raglan lines.

I fell for the picot point cast-off recently while swatching for another project and decided they would add the perfect feminine touch to the edges of this sweater, as well as add a little extra weight to the hem. Right now I have i-cords for the drawstrings but may need to find some pretty ribbon instead.

Here's a quick shot on me. I had just finished the i-cords, so this is pre-blocking, and I hadn't woven in the ends yet. Though the body and one sleeve are washed, the other sleeve, body hem, and yoke were unwashed and still very ... crinkly.

What interested me most was the change in the fabric after washing and drying in the machine (love the low-maintenance sweater!), which you can see in the pictures: one sleeve and the yoke are straight off the skein and the body and other sleeve have been through the machine once. I got a little nervous at one point and decided to wash what I'd knit to make sure my calculations were correct. Now, it wasn't so much that the gauge changed (it did, but only slightly), it's that the fabric completely changed, plumped up, in fact, and smoothed out.

Next time I work with this yarn, I think I'll wash the skeins before I begin to make it more pleasant to work with (lots of dust and dirt that aggravated my allergies). And check out how much lint just half of the sweater generated:
The other interesting thing I learned about linen yarn in my obsessive Ravelry research, knitting, and shopping (J.Crew has a pretty, "dip-dyed" linen sweater) is that this yarn in a stockinette fabric biases a lot. That J.Crew sweater? It was knit up in pieces and seamed; when I tried it on, one of the seams ended up swinging itself across half my torso. Not flattering to this mummy tummy. So, beware the bias, or just embrace it. The little picots at the bottom of the sweater give a little weight to the hem, helping the drape of the fabric.

Pattern and final pictures to come...

28 May 2010

Interview with Robin Hunter

Robin was gracious enough to interview me (via email) for her blog today. I really enjoyed thinking about her questions, as well as reading her interviews with many other knitwear designers along with all her other informative posts. I'm pleasurably embarrassed to be in such virtual company. Thanks, Robin! [link]

Gore Place Festival (long overdue)

Fiber Tent (Bartlett on the left, Lucy's great selection of yarns from her shop Mind's Eye Yarns on the right of this photo; lots more further inside the tent)

Sheep waiting to be shorn

Fleece from sheep shorn with electric clippers (hand-shearing was in the other tent)

Some shorn sheep

And some goodies that came home with me...

Holiday Yarns Bubblegum Pink sock yarn (so pretty and cheery), 3 skeins of sock yarn from The Fiber Denn in Celestite (is that my color or what?), and this beautiful sweater toggle from Leslie Wind (I'll photograph my C-pin soon, promise!)

The Gore Place Sheep Shearing Festival was great! Lots to see: hand and electric shearing tents, sheep dog display, Gore Place's livestock, reenactors in period dress, the marketplace tents, as well as the Fiber Tent. Yummy food: Christina's ice cream, kettle corn, the awesome Polish truck, Persian food, and Scottish shortbread at the kilt vendor tent. And, of course, great company in my former roomies and their adorable little girls, plus meeting Leslie (finally!) who I first met online back when I was living in Gloucester.

This was my second year attending the Festival, and it was even more fun this time. It seemed like there were more people there - lots of families with children getting to see first-hand where wool comes from. I hope to make this an annual visit.

Free Pattern Friday: Annis

Did you get the Knitty Surprise email yesterday? Both patterns are lovely, but I went a little crazy for Annis, the crescent-shaped shawlette with nupps. Perhaps it's because Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia is one of the newer books in my collection or because The Haapsalu Shawl is on my mental wish list.  I've already queued it up, despite a long list of pattern ideas I want to work on (never mind all the actual work on my plate), and plan to use some Malabrigo Lace for mine. [Pattern | Ravelry]

27 May 2010

WIP Wednesday: Blankie

On the off chance that someone [Dad] actually reads this blog (though I'm doubtful, since he once called me on the phone to ask if I could send him an email so he could write me back), I'm not including pictures. But I am knitting up a new blanket for my dad for his birthday tomorrow. Since inspiration didn't strike until a few days ago, it will be late, but I think it will be worth it.

Yes, he already has a Hemlock Blanket that I knit him last year, but I thought a new blanket to take up to the lake house might be nice. And I finally realized what to do with a lovely pile of alpaca my brother and sister-in-law gave me a few years ago. I know it should probably be something for me, but a nice Hap-style blanket seems the perfect use for this blue-on-blue hand-painted worsted weight alpaca. All that garter stitch breaks up the runs of light blue, dark blue, and blue grey, as will the Old Shale of the border. I'm doing the center on the diagonal and have finished the first skein increasing every row. Next I'll decrease with the second skein back down to a three-stitch point. Then it will be border time! And I plan to work until I run out of the other two skeins of this softness (Misti Alpaca Worsted Hand-dye, to be exact).

I've also knit up some Matryoshkas for friends' kids - way overdue - and have to get some more yarn (and fill) for another one for someone born Tuesday.

Oops! Forgot to hit "Publish Post" last night. Off to the grindstone...,

19 May 2010

WIP Wednesday: Cap'n's Scarf

Actually, it's pretty much finished. A cozy scarf with tied fringe a la Frank Austen worked in Malabrigo's awesome Twist yarn (why did I resist you?). I'd had this idea for a scarf reminiscent of Captain Jack Sparrow's red scarf in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies for quite a while. Then Frank Austen's fringe appeared. And finally I encountered a couple of skeins of Twist at Yarntopia last week in Ravelry Red, which was the perfect color.

This yarn is luscious! And all those plies mean the usual Malabrigo Worsted pilling problem isn't a problem at all. If you need an Aran weight (4spi) yarn, be sure to check out Twist. NAYY. But I sure am glad Dona had a swatch knitted up at the store.

I still have to snap pictures of this one, as well as Aphros, so there will be two, count 'em, two patterns coming soon.

Etsy Treasury: On the High Seas

Jennifer of Laughing Rat Studios scored a Treasury on Etsy (you get to play curator with all the amazing items Etsy has to offer, selecting your own perfect, little exhibition) and was sweet enough to include my On the High Seas shawlette pattern in her Sheep to Shawl collection! [link] Thanks, Jennifer!

15 May 2010

Frank Austen's fringe

Apparently, when Jane Austen's brother was home on leave, he would work fringe. [link]

(I don't want to lose this link - some day all will be clear.)

14 May 2010

Free Pattern Friday: Cabled Beret (there's a contest, too)

The talented Veronik Avery's new book Knitting 24/7 is out now, and there's a pretty little beret pattern to celebrate. Be sure to check out Twist Collective's page for details on entering the contest. [Twist blogPDF]

13 May 2010

WIP Wednesday: I've got nothing

Hard to believe, but I've hardly knit a stitch since finishing Aphros last week. My allergies have been awful. Now they're under control, but the aftermath is ugly (the skin around my eyes is so irritated, since I seem to rub them in my sleep - ugh). So, I've been avoiding the outside world except to visit the doctor on Monday, and Mother's Day was decidedly low-key this year.

But the postal worker helped. In an overflow bin (oops - we hadn't checked the mail in a few days) were a package from the talented Leslie Wind with one of her beatiful, silver C-pins (based on the Celtic penannular brooch), which I may feature in the Aphros photos, as well as a set of Briggs & Little sample cards from the lovely Elizabeth. So many lovely colors in a number of different yarns. Oh, the possibilities!

More on Leslie in another post, as I actually got to meet her at the Gore Place Sheep Shearing Festival a few weeks ago. But now I have lots of work to catch up on (when you wake up itchy throughout the night, it's difficult to focus during the day).

07 May 2010

Free Pattern Friday: Raspberry Bed Socks

Mother's Day is just a couple of days away. If you're quick, you could knit mom a pair of Mel Clark's Raspberry Bed Socks with pretty little bobbles and i-cord drawstrings. [Ravelry link | Pattern link]

And my face is finally calming down from the horrible allergies (apparently, I rub my eyes in my sleep, and it looked like I'd been in a brawl or something), so there should be an Aphros photo shoot soon, followed by a pattern release!

05 May 2010

WIP Wednesday: Aphros is complete

I even blocked the additional portion of the stole this afternoon, but the tree pollen is conspiring to make me as un-photogenic as possible, so you will have to wait a few days before Aphros and I smile for the camera.

This time I worked the edging from my chart, rather than the original written instructions, and it went much faster. I do love charts; however, I know not everyone likes charts (and some people look at them and just get gobbledeygook in their minds), so the edging will also be written out in the pattern.

In the picture below you can see the difference blocking makes. We have egg carton on the right and smooth, blocked out waves of seafoam on the left.
Tonight and tomorrow I have "real work" to do, but I hope to have the Aphros pattern ready to go on Friday.

29 April 2010

WIP Wednesday (Thursday edition): The stole has a name

Henceforth the stole will be called Aphros. And for those of you not winding up your Spring Semester of Ancient Greek today, aphros means "sea foam" in Greek. I kept thinking about the notion of Aphrodite (the goddess who arose from the foam of the sea), but this stole isn't really about a goddess, even if you feel like one wrapped up in it. More about the tracks left in the sand by those little waves near the shore and the delicate, trailing seaweed; the beauty found at the water's edge, if you will.

Right now the stole is blocking with only one edge knitted on. I wanted to make sure I liked the edging (I do!) before knitting on the second. The Seafoam pattern is so lovely I was tempted to make the stole just one giant seafoam swatch, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to include something a little lacier at the short edges, to have something more than just a rectangle. There's nothing wrong with those purely rectangular stoles, just this isn't one of them.

As you will see when I release the pattern, the body stitch is amazingly simple, so this will be a perfect summer travel project (in July a little pile of lace in your lap is bearable, a sweater's worth of wool is not). And the lace edging, while more complex, is something you can do if you know how to increase (and at the end of the body of this stole you will be a yarnover champ), decrease (you know you can k2tog!), and cast off (just for a few stitches every eight rows).

Here are a few blocking shots of what I have now. Hopefully, I'll have time to write up the pattern and get the edging done on the other end in the next few days, so that when Nick returns from his shmancy conference we can get some good snaps.
Aphros blocking (note the action figures supervising)

Aphros edging - sorry for the blurry shot
Aphros body

21 April 2010

WIP Wednesday: Seafoam stole (in search of better name)

Until now I've preferred blogging finished projects and not covering things so much in process; however, this one is taking a long time. It's a stole shape in the brilliant (and brilliantly simple) Seafoam pattern. Though much further along than in these snaps, it's pretty much the same thing. I'm working with Madeline Tosh's Superwash Merino Lace yarn (Kelp colorway from Knitty City). I have a swatch all done up in this pattern with an edging that I like, so I know exactly where I'm going; I'm just not sure I've gotten there yet (as far as knitting the body goes), though I think I'm close. And then this lovely is going to need a name...

Perhaps I'll block it "as is" before heading up to Boston for the weekend and assess upon return.

But that would mean getting something else on the needles... While Miss Charlotte and her lovely sister Henrietta deserve some knitterly gifties for hosting me and Isobel this weekend, I've run out of time for working anything up before the weekend (Isobel and I are going to the Bronx Zoo with her classroom tomorrow - lions will make an appearance here, or at the very least on my Flickr, soon), though I am pretty sure I know what I'm going to work up for them (hmm, what pattern have I created that's perfect for little ones?).

Well, as you know knitters spend more time making yarn decisions than clothing ones when packing for a trip. I'll let you know what I decide to pack tomorrow night. And maybe I'll see you at Gore Place Saturday?

16 April 2010

Pattern: On the High Seas

Sometimes it’s a little chilly at the helm of your ship. Or perhaps you want to drape a little something across your shoulders (for modesty?) to greet that boarding party. A shawlette is just the thing. This one uses your favorite sock yarn and the beautiful Crest of the Wave lace pattern, which has enough “lace action” to keep you interested without being so complex that you can’t keep an eye on the horizon. Pattern includes chart and written-out instructions for lace.  

The pattern is available here on Ravelry or you can purchase it directly using the button below.

Pattern: On the High Seas

This year for my sister's birthday I bought some yarn that seemed very her (Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce) and gave her the option of either receiving the yarn and some pattern options or having me knit something out of it for her. Since she was busy making the world a better place in Afghanistan, she opted for my doing the "work". Thus, the first iteration of On the High Seas came to be.
I just thought this last picture was funny - clearly the shy shawlette is trying to evade being photographed

I had a hard time sending it overseas and so worked up my own in Laughing Rat's beautiful sock yarn in the Pacific colorway [link to the skein I bought in case you want to special order one from Jennifer], perfecting the pattern numbers and working on the chart. Now, I'm ready to share it with you.

On the High Seas

Sometimes it’s a little chilly at the helm of your ship. Or perhaps you want to drape a little something across your shoulders (for modesty?) to greet that boarding party. A shawlette is just the thing. This one uses your favorite sock yarn and the beautiful Crest of the Wave lace pattern, which has enough “lace action” to keep you interested without being so complex that you can’t keep an eye on the horizon. Pattern includes chart and written-out instructions for lace.

The pattern is available here on Ravelry or you can purchase it directly using the button below.

15 April 2010

Piece of Emancipation History

Be sure to check out the beautiful silk shawl given to Harriet Tubman by Queen Victoria and now residing with the Smithsonian. There's a little talk of reverse engineering a pattern on the Laceknitters list. I wonder if there are any photographs of it being worn. [link]

10 April 2010

Free Pattern Friday: Kiddie Cadet

Now that Spring has sprung and we are into the baseball season, consider making a Kiddie Cadet for your kiddo. I particularly love this one that looks like a baseball. Knit in worsted-weight yarn and sized for baby, toddler, and child, surely there's a small fry in your life in need of a new hat for spring. [Ravelry | Blog | PDF] And the designer Alice Schnebly also has an adult version called Hawkeye available for $5. [Ravelry | Blog]

And I know it's Saturday, so your free pattern is a day late, but we've been running full-tilt this week chez Purly. I've been working on some graphic design projects, knitting up a new pattern, figuring out how I want to knit another new pattern (charts are my friend), digging out the summer clothes for the recent heat wave, battling the evil pollen of NYC without retreating to a sealed room with an air purifier, and all the usual parenting/housework stuff. Whew! I didn't realize how much I'd been up to until I wrote that.
And here's a sneak peek at my next pattern. This was an in-progress shot. The item is now finished and blocked, pattern written and charted, but the original was knit for my sister (the one in the photo is for me). Once it arrives in Germany, I'll share the whole thing with you. Suffice it to say it's my new favorite knit. The yarn is fingering-weight from Laughing Rat Studio in the colorway Pacific that has been marinating in the stash since summer 2007. I'd say it had aged "just right".

02 April 2010

Free Pattern Friday: Eierbaretjes (Egg Tams)

I wanted to find a pattern for an egg cozy for this Friday's pattern because it was the first thing I learned to knit long ago. My maternal grandmother taught me to knit with bright yellow acrylic yarn. I can still see her front porch where I seem to remember my knitting lesson taking place and the tulip tree blooming in the yard. It was a little garter-stitch pocket (I imagine she sewed up the seams) that could hold a hard-boiled egg, decoratively, and somehow looking like a little chicken.

Sadly, for me, knitting didn't take back then, and it wasn't until after my grandmother was gone that I took up a pair of needles again. But now I can't put them down!

And you should pick yours up to make at least one of these adorable egg tams, pattern courtesy of José Gralike. Come on, berets for your boiled eggs! Could anything be more wonderful? Well, I love them anyway. [Ravelry link | Blog link | PDF link]

Happy Easter for those of you celebrating that one. Blessed Passover for those of you celebrating that one. And, yay, Spring for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere!

26 March 2010

Free Pattern Friday: Elisa Nest Tote

Spring has sprung/The grass is ris... And the farmer's markets are starting back up. Are you still buying your ramps in plastic bags from your farmers? It's time to work down your stash and work up some market bags. I've checked out a bunch of them and really like the looks of this one, particularly the i-cord handle. Great tutorial from the Purl Bee. The farmer's market awaits! [Ravelry link | Blog link | PDF link]

P.S. Be sure to check out the blog link for the great picture of, presumably, Elisa with her tote and a bun in the oven.
P.P.S. Apologies for not posting a free pattern link last Friday, Penelope had Roseola while we were in Chicago. All better now!

Pattern: Vines

You've seen the preview, now you can buy the pattern. Apologies for taking so long -- the schematic intimidated me, since I'm a designer, not an illustrator. You'll laugh when you see how simple it is, and I knew it would be.

Anyway, I hope you like it! My test knitters (thanks, ladies -- you rock!) were enthusiastic and, happily for me, tried it in different kinds of yarn. Should you want to use an inelastic yarn (silk or cotton), you'll want to lean more towards two inches of negative ease rather than four for a stretchier yarn.

I've graded this piece for sizes XS, S, M, L, and XL. The lace pattern is both charted and written out (and it's a really straightforward lace pattern), so you have no excuses! You need a spring layering piece, don't you? The sun is out here in New York City, but it's still brisk.

The pattern is available here on Ravelry or you can purchase it directly using the button below.

24 March 2010

Pattern: Vines

You've seen the preview, now you can buy the pattern. Apologies for taking so long -- the schematic intimidated me, since I'm a designer, not an illustrator. You'll laugh when you see how simple it is, and I knew it would be.

Anyway, I hope you like it! My test knitters (thanks, ladies -- you rock!) were enthusiastic and, happily for me, tried it in different kinds of yarn. Should you want to use an inelastic yarn (silk or cotton), you'll want to lean more towards two inches of negative ease rather than four for a stretchier yarn.

I've graded this piece for sizes XS, S, M, L, and XL. The lace pattern is both charted and written out (and it's a really straightforward lace pattern), so you have no excuses! You need a spring layering piece, don't you? The sun is out here in New York City, but it's still brisk.

The pattern is available here on Ravelry or you can purchase it directly using the button below.