Monday, September 28, 2015

Introducing Dobbs Ferry.  Last year at Rhinebeck, I walked into Jill Draper's booth and began mixing and matching the Rockwell - because this stuff is just too cool, and one color wasn't going to do it.  I'm such a fan of Jill's work and her gorgeous yarn and her entire business model, which is based on using New England animals and supporting local mills and traditions with a minimal environmental footprint.  Her blog is full of photos of her out there in the fields with the sheep, and she's rolling her sleeves up at Green Mountain Spinnery with Maureen and Laurie while milling the yarn, and she cares so deeply about all of what she produces, and about the steps she takes to do so.  I'm just so very happy to have the chance to be a part of what she's doing. And Dobbs Ferry is my latest little part, knit in her Rockwell yarn.

Rockwell is made with plies of different colors to give a marled effect to the finished fiber.  Jill uses naturally colored fleeces, sorted from lightest to darkest, and spins 3 shades - a light, medium and dark.  Each shade is really made up of dozen of colors from the many shades of fleeces, and even undyed, it's stunning.

But when Jill starts adding her dyes to this, it gets simply addictive.   And I really couldn't decide, standing there in the booth, so I picked three - Rose Petal, Lavender, and Cloud.  Then I came up with a plan to knit a simple, modern version of a bold, Icelandic-style yoked pullover.  The combination of clean lines in the colorwork and lots of stockinette really allow the texture and shades of the Rockwell stand out.  I also liked the idea of starting somewhere steeped in tradition for this project, and then taking it somewhere fun.  It's kind of what Jill does every day.
I added some detail to the ribbing at the bottom, and created a staggered motif that kind of echoes the colorwork itself.  It's a subtle thing, but I like it.
Three quarter sleeves and a wide, dipped crew neckline are modern touches that create a feminine silhouette, and this classic shape can easily be worn either a little slouchy (like mine) or more fitted if desired (see the test knits).  As always, there are notes in the pattern regarding modifications for length or width.  

I suggest using two complimentary shades for the hem/yoke and body colors, and picking a bright contrast for the accent on both sleeves and yoke.  It's cozy and traditional, but the yarn makes it just so fun, and I can't wait to wear this to Rhinebeck this year.

The PDF pattern for Dobbs Ferry is available on Ravelry or on the blog here for $7, and Jill's shop will be chock full of Rockwell at noon today. We have some color suggestions, and I will have a Dobbs Ferry thread in my Ravelry group where you can see the test knits or throw around your color ideas.  Feel free to ask any questions or just chat about your sweater plans...
You can purchase Rockwell in Jill's Etsy shop, or if you want to see all of Jill's yarn in person, she's having an Open House at her studio in Kingston on the Saturday night of Rhinebeck weekend, from 6-9pm.  I'll be sure to post the details when the date gets closer, and I hope to see some of you there!
And I know I'm covering a lot of topics in this post...  BUT, there's one more thing.  
I really couldn't let my Rockwell leftovers from the colorwork bits go to waste once I was done knitting Dobbs, so I designed another small pattern - the Dobbs Ferry Hat.  If you aren't planning an entire sweater, you can consider it a gateway drug for Rockwell, but if you are knitting the sweater, it's a great way to make sure nothing goes to waste. 
It's a simple, easily modified colorwork hat, using a variation on the motif from the sweater.  It uses about 75 yards each of two colors.   You can wear it slouchy or folded back and fitted, and there are lots of ways to alter this for depth, width or the amount of each color you have on hand.  I've tried to create a flexible recipe with options, so you can play around with what remains in your bag -  or give this stuff a try! 
The Dobbs Ferry Hat is available for $5 on Ravelry or on the blog here, and you can see the test knits on Ravelry for this one as well.
Since this was made originally for the leftovers, if you download your sweater pattern, there's a code in there that will get you 50% off the hat. It will work on Ravelry as long as there's a previous purchase of the PDF in your library, so you can decide after you're done knitting.  :)
I think I've said quite enough already, so I'll save the Dobbs Ferry Cocktail for a post later this week - I  hope you guys like these, and if you are planning to be at Rhinebeck, spotting me will be easy now.  


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I do love hats.  They are quick, easy, and the perfect excuse to try a new yarn.  As a designer, the flexibility to play with details and shaping without sizing makes them a great break from sweaters, and I really don't think I can have too many.  Ever.  My single skein pile is pretty much earmarked for about a hundred more, and I will never worry about a bad hair day once the cool weather comes. 

Today, I have two new ones to share with you... 

I released Bywater this morning as part of the Stash and Burn September KAL.  I'm their featured designer, and we've been knitting hats all month.  So I thought it would be fun to design a hat while the KAL was happening and kind of share the process online.  Plus, it was an excuse for a naming contest.  So I posted photos as I worked, and the knitters provided conversation and cocktail ideas.

I had this beautiful skein of Nice and Knit DK in the High Tide Colorway, and it was the complex mix of blues and teal here that made me want delicate cables.  It's soft and warm and the paler teal shades almost glow against the darker ones.  It's a great yarn, and this was a nice way to check it out!

The winning cocktail came all the way from Glasgow, Scotland but it's a drink from New Orleans (go figure) featuring rum and chartreuse and it sounds pretty awesome.  A link is here.

All month, I've had special Stash and Burn discounts on different hat patterns and this one is no exception - the code SnB4 will get you 30% off until Sept 28.  It's listed for $6 regularly and the PDF can be found on Ravelry. For the rest of the details regarding the KAL, other discounts and the podcast interview Nicole did with me, check out the Stash and Burn Rav thread.  

My other new hat design is Pimm's Cup.   I discovered and became a huge fan of Victoria Magnus and her beautiful Eden Cottage Yarns earlier this year.  Both Cardamom Rose and Dubonnet were inspired and knit because of her gorgeous colors, and when she asked me to be part of a collection she was putting together for her Whitfell DK, I agreed immediately.

Pimm's Cup is a soft, feminine hat featuring a lace and cable repeat.  The Whitfell is a soft and delicate alpaca, and the distinct lines of the motif are beautiful in the fiber.

Pimm's Cup can be bought as part of the Drift Collection for 13.5 pounds sterling. She's got a digital as well as a print copy, and they are beautiful.  The rest of the Drift Collection is just gorgeous and can be found here.

That's it for now.  It always seems like everything comes to a head at once.  And since that's actually the way things are going this week, soon I'll be back with my Rhinebeck sweater -- and another hat!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Many of you followed me on Instagram through Europe as I knit this one!  It's been a long time coming, but it's finally here.  In plenty of time for Fall. 

Introducing Amber Ale. 

When Melissa Thomson of Sweet Fiber Yarns sent me a big box chock full of gorgeous fiber last Spring, four skeins of cashmere jumped out first and begged to be knit.  I have always wanted a big, insanely soft, boldly lacy wrap -- and these 800 yards of soft, beautiful Cashmere DK were just the ticket.

Amber Ale features a geometric lace motif with some gorgeous bold lines that not only add the look of a little raised texture to the scarf, but make the lace much easier than you'd think to work.  Once you have a repeat or two down, the rest is easy to see as you go.

Along the sides of the wrap, simple ribs accent the motif, and at each end, these ribs play off the tips of the first and last diamonds in the lace.

It's big (but not too big) and it drapes perfectly, and it's the coziest thing I think I've made.  Because, cashmere.  Glorious soft, light, warm cashmere.

Melissa's colors are incredibly complex and beautiful - with highs and lows and subtle hints of other shades within the main color.  She dyes all her yarns in small batches up in British Columbia and tries to source as much of her fiber as possible from local Canadian farms.  If you haven't tried her fiber yet, now's a good time -- she's updated her shop with a new batch of Cashmere especially for this scarf and is offering 20% off the kit price until Sept 20.  Details are here.

Some of her beautiful colors are here.  Perfect for Fall, right?

or something more neutral?

And I'm offering $2 off the pattern for the first week as well! Just purchase Amber Ale on Ravelry - with the code SweetFiber, also good until Sept 20.  The pattern is available as a PDF download on Ravelry for $7, and it's also in the patterns section of this blog.  All the information and particulars are on the Ravelry page.

Next, I have a sweater quantity of her Cashmerino Worsted in Tea Leaves. I can't wait....

PS - Thank you thank you thank you to Erin, who's the gorgeous model in these pics.  xo

Friday, September 11, 2015

Introducing Gray Rose - a colorwork hat for adults - or girls who feel a little grownup.  Like mine.

I had my first taste of Anne Hanson's gorgeous Bare Naked Wool yarns when I was researching yarns for Ommegang,  She's carefully curated a collection of beautiful fibers from regional farms and she uses small artisan mills to spin her yarns. The combinations of fiber she's come up with are unique and stunning, and a dream to knit with. Plus, her collection of neutral shades can't be beat - grays and creams and browns that really remind you of the beauty of where this stuff comes from.  I also love that when I use this yarn, I'm making sure those farms and mills and traditions continue, which is no small thing these days.  It's a topic that's becoming more and more important as time goes on, and one I'm spending more time thinking about and working towards these days.

It was those natural colors that got me going with this design.  Using a few of her gorgeous grays and adding just a spot of acid yellow took a whimsical little flower motif I'd been eyeing for a while and gave it just the right amount of sophistication.  The blooms stayed kind of fun, but no longer girly.  And when placed off kilter in rows, they also seem a little modern.

The pattern is written for Kent, a Romney/Merino blend, and you can use either the DK or Worsted weight - depending on the size you need.  There are additional notes in the document if you want to alter further for depth or width, but the smaller size will fit a 18-19"  head and the bigger one is perfect for a 20-21" head. 

And, with two skeins, you have enough yarn to knit two of them - reversing the colors and get ahead on your holiday gifts...  Or maybe right now it's the perfect back-to-school gift for the grown up girl in your house?

The pattern is for sale for $5.50 as a PDF download.  All the details are on Ravelry, and there's a link to purchase directly in the Hat Section of the blog.

And if you're thirsty?  I found this in a vintage cocktail recipe book and the name fit the hat perfectly!

Gray Rose

In a shaker, mix ice, an egg white,  the juice of a half lemon, a half tsp of sugar, 2 oz of gin and shake well.  Shake well. Pour into small wine glass and serve cold.

I think it's like a mini gin fizz :)

Friday, September 04, 2015

Thanks for the amazing response to Mezcal!  We ran out of yarn pretty quick when it launched, but Julie has just relisted sweater quatities in 5 beautiful colors on her website. And they are gorgeous colors, chosen specifically with Mezcal in mind...   Details on that are right here

Mezcal is part of a bigger project though, so even if you do miss out on this one, know that there will be more great designs and yarn from Julie in the pipeline.   She's partnered with myself and a few other designers who I love and we have a secret Pinterest page of inspiration photos and discussion. It's exciting and we've been figuring things out for a few months now!

The name of the project is All The Year, and our designs will be inspired by the seasons and the natural changes that come and go as the year progresses.

Mezcal was inspired by this image, as I wanted something for late summer and early Fall.  When the sun pokes through tall trees and makes the forest cool.  And since the leaves haven't all dropped yet, the remaining canopy creates a quiet, dark place to hide from the sun and shuffle your feet in the debris on the forest floor.   We live right near a reservation and hike often in the woods, and there is a spot in there that looks like this and I just love it.

The color of the yarn -  the vertical lines of the lace and collar - both were meant to echo this feeling of tall trees - and the shading in the brown yarn made me think of the different colors on the bark of the slender trunks.  The open lace and long lines of the sweater are also purposely vertical, and allow for peeks of the shirt beneath, as the leaves allow a for little sun to shine through.

It was fun to connect the project to the image and time of year - and I've already begun thinking about my late winter contribution to the mix.  In the meantime, keep your eyes out for more seasonally inspired designs and yarn from Julie (and the rest of us) as All The Year continues...

Thursday, September 03, 2015

I  know you've seen a few of these before, but have you thought you wanted to knit one and never got around to it?  If so, check in with the ladies over at Stash and Burn. They're sponsoring a KAL featuring me as the Designer of the Month and it's all hats.  Details were discussed in this week's podcast, and I'll be doing an actual interview with them for their next podcast!

If you go to the Stash and Burn Ravelry group, there's a discount code you can use on Ravelry for 30% off a different set of my hats each week in September -- a few of the has pictured below are in this week's bunch and I'll switch it up on the 8th.

PLUS, I'm designing a new hat pattern especially for the Stash and Burn KAL - and designing it as we go, so it's kind of half done now.  Which is good news for all of you because it needs a name and that -- my friends is reason for a little contest.

There's a thread in my Ravelry group where I'm sharing a few progress photos and asking for you help in coming up with a cocktail name that goes with this one.   There are already a few pages of awesome cocktail recipes and ideas in case you are interested - or thirsty? 

I'll use one of the suggestions to name the hat and the winner will get the final pattern plus this skein of gorgeous Nice and Knit DK in High Tide - and a few other goodies which are in the mail to me as I type. 

Fun, right?  And not a bad way to get a start on your holiday knitting or ease into the whole sweater season with a few stash busting, instantly gratifying hats - still light on your lap if it's too hot for the aran weight cabled cardigan you are eyeing.