16 June 2015

Kellynch Cardigan update

Before "the teachers let the monkeys out", I finished up my Kellynch Cardigan. Whoohoo!

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen these pics over the past few months, but I wanted to do a little review here on the ol' blog.

As you may recall, I had a little bit of an adventure with the yarn (madelinetosh tosh merino light in Envy). When doing a little yarn crawl with my fantastic cousin back in March, we could only find two skeins, but I HAD to have them. Then I was back at Knitty City the following week for something completely different, and we ended up looking through a bag of madtosh (oh, heaven!) and found a third skein of Envy where it should not have been (bags are grouped by dominant color).

A photo posted by Kathleen Dames (@kathleendames) on

So, I knit away on the stockinette portions, knowing that the lace yoke was going to be so. much. fun. And it was! Definitely expect this structure to show up in another pattern some time.

A photo posted by Kathleen Dames (@kathleendames) on

A photo posted by Kathleen Dames (@kathleendames) on

To make the whole thing even better, I found the most perfect buttons at M&J Trimming while shopping for buttons for the forthcoming Jane Austen Knits (publication month: November 2015).

A photo posted by Kathleen Dames (@kathleendames) on

The thing about the buttons is that, while they are shanked (my general preference), the holes for sewing them on were too small for any needles I have, or the eye of the needle was way too small for the yarn. I know I could have used sewing thread, but I didn't want to (I know some knitters prefer to sew their buttons on with thread, but I always worry the thread will cut through the yarn of the button band). And then I realized I had a wee crochet hook from a beaded knitting project that might work...

Et voila! Here's a Kellynch Cardigan just for me :)

While I won't be able to publish the pattern in my Ravelry store until October, you can create your own from Jane Austen Knits 2014* (Interweave digital edition) or purchase the Interweave version of the pattern here*.

Thanks for stopping by and happy knitting!

*Those are Interweave affiliate links. If you purchase through one of those links, I receive a tiny commission. If you would rather buy the pattern from me directly, please sign up for my newsletter, and you'll be the first to know when it is available. If you would rather get to the pattern on your own, just type "kellynch cardigan interweave" into your favorite search engine :)

15 June 2015

Wedding sweater: yarn

As you may know, my dear sister is getting married this August. Yay! At some point this Spring, she mentioned something about knitting a sweater to wear at the reception. Of course, I loved the idea! I started snapping pictures of every green yarn I came across.

Did she want wool or cotton or linen or silk? Berlin's weather is highly unpredictable in summer, and it will be an evening ceremony and reception. I encouraged wool, which would also give her plenty of opportunities to wear it after the wedding.

If she went with wool, I could find a hand-dye, which in my mind makes a garment more unique and personal: not only did someone knit the item by hand, but the yarn itself was dyed by hand. (And if you're a spinner, you know that the ultimate personalized knitted item is crafted from hand spun, but I'm holding off on learning to spin. For now.)

In the end I found a couple of gorgeous skeins of Neighborhood Yarns sock yarn in Fells Point at Knitty City, and I will be knitting a sweater for my sister as a wedding gift. I plan to document the process of designing and crafting this cardigan for her here, and hope you will enjoy following along.

This yarn is SO my sister!

Yummy cakes ready for swatching

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

12 June 2015

Pattern upgrades coming, well, all summer!

It's time for all my patterns to be upgraded to the same attractive, easy-to-use layout, don't you think?

Since there are 26 backlist patterns in various layouts, I plan to work my way through upgrading the pattern PDFs this summer. I would love to hear from you which patterns you'd like to see all spruced up first. 

Do you have a favorite? Should I just go in alphabetical order (as seen below)? Oldest? Newest? Most hearts? Too many options!

row 1: An Aran for Anne, An Aran for Frederick, Aphros, Babe in the Mist, Bloc Pulli, Captain Austen's Scarf
row 2: Castaway Shawlette, Deckhand - Women's, Deckhand, Dennis, Hap-py, In the Shallows
row 3: Infinite, JOY garland, Matryoshka Japonais, Mermaid's Cardigan, Mermaid's Mitts, Night Watch Cap
row 4: On the High Seas, Sailor's Valentine, Upon the Spanish Main, Vines, Walk the Plank
row 5: Wavelette, Wench

This is something I can work on now that the kids are out of school (eep!).

If you already purchased one of these patterns, thank you! After the new version is loaded into Ravelry, you will receive a notification that your upgrade is waiting for you. Don't miss the special customer coupon code in the email!

So, let me know in the comments below which pattern you would like to see first.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

P.S. Don't worry, there are new patterns in the pipeline, too! A small shawl is in testing, and I'm in the middle of writing up a pullover and cardigan, as well as designing a sweater for my sister for her wedding (yay!).

10 June 2015

Summer Schedule

Dear ones,

Today marks the first day of my kids' school vacation and the beginning of a busy summer*, which is mostly "yay!" with a little bit of "eep!" thrown in for good measure. In order to stay sane, I am altering my blog schedule somewhat:

  • quick + purly posts will come out on the first and third Friday of the month, so you can find some lovely new-to-you patterns to queue
  • technique posts, FO-tastics, and other knit-related items I want to share with you will come out on Tuesdays, as well as the non-quick + purly Fridays
  • my backlist re-release extravaganza will happen all summer long - not only will the patterns all be in the same, lovely layout, but I'll be able to share pattern highlights with you along the way (more on that this Friday)
Not publishing quick + purly posts weekly is the biggest change, but it should free up time for me to do more pattern writing. Hopefully, this will be the best of both worlds: seeking out new-to-me designs and designers to share with you plus publishing more of my new designs, all while spending time with the kids and doing a fair bit of traveling (follow me on Instagram to keep up with all of that - my trusty iPhone and I are looking forward to sharing all the beauty we can find this Summer*).

If there are quick + purly categories you would like me to explore, let me know in the comments. As a, mostly, adult garment and accessory designer, I tend to go there first, but I love a good baby knit as much as the next person.

*Any travel advice for Athens and Santorini, midcoast Maine, or Berlin is welcome. Sunscreen recommendations (we are a pale group), favorite LYSes, can't-miss restaurants, magical book stores (new and used), jetlagged-kids suggestions, special beaches and parks, etc.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

09 June 2015

Benwick Cardigan KAL

As I look ahead to the rest of the year, I see that it is time to self-publish my lovely Benwick Cardigan. But! I can't fit into the wee sample originally published in Jane Austen Knits, Fall 2013. What's a designer to do? Well, I could hire a model or buy a sample-sized dress form or knit one for myself. While I live uptown from ModelLand, at this point I prefer to model my designs, since they are very personal. Living in a New York City apartment, I'm not exactly keen on adding more stuff to the apartment. So, knitting one for me it is!

The original pattern was worked in String Theory's DK yarn, which was lovely to work with, though possibly on the challenging side to photograph. String Theory's two dyers decided to go their separate ways last year, and one of the dyers remained "String Theory", while the other formed a new dye studio called Seven Sisters Arts. I plan to knit the new Benwick in SSA's Corona DK.

There are quite a few special touches to Benwick:
  • Aran braids (same stitch pattern) along horizontal and vertical edges, as well as in epaulet form on the shoulder saddles
  • Hook-and-eye closures harken back to Regency-era Naval wear
  • Heart on your sleeve
  • Saddle shoulder construction
  • Crisp collar
  • Straight fit to the body, though waist shaping could be worked here if desired
  • Body and sleeves are worked flat for gauge consistency, while the saddle shoulder yoke joins sleeves and body together seamlessly

So, who wants a Benwick of their very own? I'd love some company in a knitalong as I work up my own sample. The Jane Austen Knits version of the pattern is currently available from Interweave here*. It may take me a bit to get my yarn and begin (we've got some upcoming travel plans that are not conducive to having a pile of wool in my lap), so we have a few weeks to get ourselves sorted.

Let me know in the comments below, via email at kathleendames at gmail dot com, or on Ravelry, if you'd care to join me.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

*That is an affiliate link for Interweave, from which I will earn a micropayment if you purchase the pattern through that link. I only provide affiliate links to items of mine that you cannot get through my Ravelry store. You can easily bypass the link by typing "Benwick pattern" into your favorite search engine.

05 June 2015

quick + purly: 5 neckties

For those of you in the US, Father's Day is coming up on 21 June, and what better knitted gift for the father in your life than a hand-knit tie. That being said, I must warn you that I am super-snooty about knitted tie patterns: just flat, tiny scarves do NOT count for me. A knitted tie should be fully-fashioned, either worked in the round or worked flat then sewn to create a tube that has the proper heft to be a tie. That being said, I found five ties plus my Dennis that you should check out.

  1. The Jeremy Tie by Amelia Lyon $4.50 CAD 
    a great way to use self-striping yarn or your yummy leftovers
  2. July Tie by Pam Allen $5 USD 
    super-simple and very handsome
    (sample AND model)
  3. Silk City by Alasdair Post-Quinn $6 USD 
    one of two very cool tie designs Alasdair
    published in Extreme Double Knitting
  4. Men's Tie by Sarah Cooke £3 GBP 
    understated elegance on the bias
  5. Hogwarts House Tie by Sarah Jo Burch $2 USD 
    clever use of stitches to create lots of interest
And one from me! Dennis by Kathleen Dames $7 USD
an interesting stitch pattern and lots of smart details

All photos from pattern Ravelry pages - no copyright infringement intended. I just want to share the love!

Have you ever knit a tie? What do you think is important in a tie pattern? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

01 June 2015

Re-released pattern: Thistle Leaf Shawl

In all the excitement of the Trunk Show, I forgot to (re)share the Thistle Leaf Shawl with you. It's a lovely pattern (and project) that warranted new photographs and a layout tweak, when I realized that it was a member of the Unicorn Tapestries, vol. one*.

Thistle Leaf Shawl $7 on Ravelry (no account necessary)

Don't you love this kind of project? One skein of a lovely fingering weight yarn and one lace chart that has enough going on to keep your attention. Thistle Leaf Shawl is a top-down shawl, which means you begin by making a little garter-stitch tab (it tops the center line of yarnover increases so that there is a lovely straight line of 2-stitch garter stitch along the entire top edge of the shawl). While this little tab may feel a tiny bit fiddly when you begin, it's over in a snap and makes the shawl a bit more perfect. I thoroughly explain the wee tab, and then you're off to the races!

There are plenty of rows of "mindless" stockinette stitch to begin, while you're still head-over-heels in love with your yarn (Julie Asselin's Milis in the Confiture colorway shown here). Then, just when you might consider straying to another project, the fun of the lace begins! Clearly, I am quite fond of this lace (Thistle Leaf Pullover, anyone?), and you should be, too :) Thistle Leaf is a Victorian variant on your basic leaf lace, but with more ... frills. Isn't it pretty? And don't worry - I've provided the lace pattern in both charted and written formats, so anyone can create their own Thistle Leaf Shawl.

Because this is an extra-wide triangle, you will increase four times on the front (knit) rows - left, right, and twice at the center line - and twice more on the back (purl) - left and right again. This produces what some call a "heart-shaped" shawl, and I will have to find the proper time/place to lay this shawl out for you to see that effect. The ends, with all those increases on the left and right sides tend to curl back in on themselves (just a little) as you come to the end of the Thistle Leaf edging. I love those extra-long ends when I wear this shawl bandit-style (triangle point in front, ends wrapped around the neck to come back to the front).

Size/Finished Measurements 
Width: 52 inches/132.08cm
Depth: 19 inches/48.26cm

Julie Asselin Milis {100% Merino; 475 yds/434m per 115 gram skein}; color: Confiture; 1 skein
US6/4.0mm 29-inch circular needle
Stitch markers
Tapestry needle

20 stitches x 32 rows = 4 inches/10cm in Stockinette Stitch

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

Test knitting: knittygal, sallen2849, sanita60, knitterloreen, seshetsuten, Katinka
Technical editing: choochooknits

Pattern is professionally formatted (by me!) with charts and written-out versions of the lace pattern to ensure you have everything you need to create your own beautiful Thistle Leaf Shawl. Those of you lovely knitters who purchased this pattern when it was originally released should have received a message from Ravelry that the updated version of the pattern is now in your library.

This pattern is part of a bundle of four inspired by The Unicorn Tapestries* at The Cloisters in New York City. Thistle Leaf Shawl was inspired by the magnificent tapestry known as The Unicorn in Captivity, where the Unicorn lounges amidst mille-fleurs, including a single white thistle just in front of the right side of his fence.

I hope you enjoy this pattern! I have worn mine a lot, usually bandit-style, to keep my neck warm, add a bit of color to my outfit, and spice up my black v-neck winter coat. Now that Spring/Summer is upon us, I plan to wear it more as a shawl when nights are cooler - it fits easily into my purse.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

*Use code unicornone to purchase all four patterns in the Unicorn Tapestries, vol. one bundle for the price of three!