15 July 2014

Trip Report: Berlin, part 1

Last week I went to Berlin to spend some time with my sister. She was diagnosed with breast cancer this winter and was having her last chemo treatment in Monday. I was so happy I could be with her. Her strength and good spirits through her treatment to date have been amazing. 

If you follow me on social media (links in the sidebar), you may have seen these, but I thought I'd share them here in the blog, too, and relive my German adventure. 

Yarn for travel projects (clockwise from top left): a sweater's worth of  Pashmina in Bloomsbury to be reknit after the cardigan I made didn't work gauge-wise; Silk Lace in Manor for a square lace shawl design; Prairie in Esoteric for a light cardigan design; and Tosh Sock in Ms. Taylor for a lace front pullover that also had a gauge problem. Guess this was a Tosh Trip!

A World Cup quarter final game took place while I was waiting for my flight at JFK. Every place with a tv screen was mobbed. This was the international terminal, after all. 

One of the artistic apples on display in the terminal "In Honor of Helsinki". 

After dropping off my bags, we strolled through the local weekend flea market. Not surprisingly I was drawn to this wee knit lace doily. 

The big excitement was realizing that there was a yarn store across the street from mysisters's apartment

Needles & Pins is a little subterranean shop with a small but nice selection of wool and needles and a nice English-speaking proprietress. Thank goodness most Germans speak some English, so I could manage when I went out without my sister. 

To help with my jet lag (and really just to enjoy the lovely weather), we walked in the park, admired the tumbling stream, and quaffed a stein of beer in the Biergarten 

It was definitely a lovely time of year to visit. Almost everywhere you looked, something was growing and blooming. 

04 July 2014

Happy July! 20% off all accessory patterns

To celebrate July and summer and all things hot in the Northern Hemisphere, you get 20% off all accessory patterns in my Ravelry store - no coupon necessary!

While I may have a pile of wool in my lap, you should definitely choose something smaller :)

Maybe get a head start on holiday gifts? My JOY garland is a great stash buster, as are the Matryoshkas, and I bet there is someone who could use a lovingly handknit tie - Dennis, anyone?

I'm off to Germany on Saturday to visit my dear sister, so there will be a shawl in my future. They really are the perfect travel knitting: one skein laceweight or fingering yarn + one needle (maybe a set of DPNs) + one pattern = one souvenir FO. Hap-py was a vacation knit that has enough going on to keep your interest, but not so much that you need to lock yourself away.

To be the first to hear about such sales, join my newsletter mailing list here. I promise never to sell your information (ew) or pester you too often (it's been once every couple of months, but things are picking up, and I plan to share something with you once or twice a month).

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

03 July 2014

A Vest for Charles + Benwick now available from Interweave as individual downloads

A Vest for Charles and Benwick are now available from Interweave as individual downloads, and it looks like they are on sale at the moment.

A Vest for Charles - download from Interweave

Benwick - download from Interweave

For those of you who are kind enough to worry, please know that I do receive a royalty on all patterns sold by Interweave. However, I will sell my own versions of these patterns once the exclusivity term is up, which will be late Fall 2014, at which point I will make them available on Craftsy, Etsy, and, of course, Ravelry.

20 June 2014

Bloc Party: note on handspun

Just a quick note to give you some more information on approximately how much handspun you will need for the yoke of Bloc Party, since the original pattern information provided skein quantities (and everyone's handspun skein is different):

Approximate CC quantities: 208, 252, 300, 352, 408, 468, 532yds fingering weight yarn or 2.3, 2.8, 3.4, 3.9, 4.6, 5.3, 5.9oz. fiber

Those are, of course, calculated amounts based upon my gauge using Wooly Wonka's lovely handspun, so YMMV.

And in case I forgot to mention it in my last post, in addition to roving + yarn kits (see link above), Anne is also offering all yarn kits for those of us who are not yet spinners. (If I didn't already have two of these cardigans, I would be sorely tempted to pair two more of Anne's amazing colorways and knit another!)

I'll leave you with a shot from the first photo shoot - I was obsessed with doing a jump shot and nearly re-broke my big toe bouncing up and down in those shoes :)

The crazy awesome glitter platform heels!

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

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