Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Hi Everyone! 

Wow, it's been a little stretch between pattern releases around here. You know the drill. Distracted. Hot. Summer. Travels. Family.  But that's all about to change as we move into Fall, isn't it??

For now, I'll just start the season with a great transitional piece, Herbsaint! A loose, slouchy tee that can easily go from cool summer nights (oh, how I am waiting for a cool summer ANYTHING) to the crisp days of Fall...

It's named Herbsaint, after the Absinthe-like liqueur created in New Orleans in the 1930s.  The delicate nature of the cables, plus the soft green color both seemed to work well with the name, and I kind of love how it sounds... 

Herbsaint, the sweater, features delicate and unexpected cables, paired with simple ribs and  combined with side-to-side construction.  The overall silhouette is easy and relaxed, and the sweater also features short sleeves and an open neckline. 

Shoulder shaping at the top - and some optional shaping at the lower back - play around with the ribs a little.

I had fun with the construction, working the top half of the sweater in two panels - each worked from sleeve to sleeve.  Once the upper panels were completed and seamed together, I picked up stitches around the bottom edge and worked the stockinette portion of the sweater downwards, in the round. This makes modifying for length super easy, but altering the top for width or depth is also simple and instructions are included in the PDF, as always.

Herbsaint is knit in baa ram ewe's new Winterburn DK, which adds the perfect heather, a touch of sheen, and a lovely drape to the fabric.  I love how this pops in the cables, and gives the whole sweater a crisp, but delicate feel.  It's a gorgeous yarn, and super satisfying on the needles.

From now until Aug 31, if you purchase Winterburn DK in the baa ram ewe shop, you can use the code HERBSAINT to get 10% off 4 skeins or more, so it's a great time to try it out .  Just sayin'.  

ALL the information, plus more photos and test knits, can be found on the Ravelry page.   The PDF can be purchased there or on the Pullovers section of the blog!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Remember the Oban hat?  I released this before the holidays, along with Glenfidditch. Both of these were fun, satisfying knits that got a lot of wear over the winter, but there was something special about this Oban combination of yarn and cable, and I really, really wanted to continue knitting with it.

FYI, the Oban & Glenfidditch discount code GIFTHATS is still valid! 
Buy both of them together and get $3.00 off. 

So, knowing I needed to continue with this idea, I contacted Anne Hanson over at Bare Naked Wools and got myself a bit more of her beautiful Confection Worsted, a gorgeous, round yarn made of 100% Corriedale Wool. Soon, I was playing with these cables again, and it was exactly what I wanted!

Before long, The Oban Sweater was finished.  I've been wearing it all winter while writing and test knitting and it may be my favorite sweater ever.

Simple shaping and restrained details really allow the cables to shine.  It's a drop sleeve pullover, with honeycomb cables and ribs as accent.  The honeycomb accented the cables beautifully and the ribs allow for easy modifications to width, plus they make seaming a breeze.

A bold hem balances the delicate neckline out nicely.

And voila.  It's a fun knit and a great wardrobe staple. I've worn mine so much that it has a small coffee spill on it and many of you who've seen me over the winter already know it well.

But don't take my word for it. There are a ton of test knits! (Give them a day or so to get their projects posted)  You can see a variety of yarn substitutes and sizes on the pattern page, and one tester made a beautifully fitted version.  The knits and all the details are on Ravelry, and the pattern can be bought either there or on the Sweater page of the blog here for $7.00.

And if you are so inclined, enjoy a glass of Oban while you're knitting!  Once you've memorized the cables, a drink shouldn't be a problem at all.....

Monday, May 21, 2018

This is WATER, the latest in a series of designs I’ve put out that uses my needles and my voice to try and fix what I can out in the world.
ALL the proceeds from Water  will go to Flint Michigan, where they are on year 4 without clean water, due to lead in the pipes and the inaction of the authorities to fix the problem.
There’s a fantastic 11 year old little girl there named Mari Copeny, who also goes by the name LittleMissFlint. She’s done more as an activist in the past 4 years than most of us will do in a lifetime. Google her and you'll be amazed. She's adorable and focused and tireless, and with the support of her family she is making a difference.

Mari has made speeches, met with politicians, has social media presence, and uses her voice and rising profile to raise awareness and funds for the people in Flint. She’s raised money for water bottles as well as things that make life for the kids in her community (where 60% live in poverty) better - backpacks and movie tickets and books.
As the media circus in the US intensifies, I want Mari and the people fo Flint to know that their town isn’t forgotten, and do what we can. I want to keep encouraging this kid to fight and speak and I want to show her it's working.  Even if the problem isn't fixed, her efforts are working and we hear her, right? 
So all my proceeds are going to this Go Fund Me that raises $$ for bottles and backpacks. In addition, North Light Fibers is donating my design fee, and my lovely tech editor Sandy has asked me to donate her tech editing fee.
The hat itself is my favorite kind of design - some fun cables.  These combine open cables and twists, and feature a bit of texture, which really pops in the gorgeous teal of the yarn.   The yarn is Atlantic Worsted, from North Light Fibers, and this color is Teal Inlet.    The crown of the hat is worked with a combination of decreases and cables that makes a striking pattern that reminds me of large drops of water, an added bonus to the theme of things here...   The yarn is a soft and round Merino from the Falkland Islands, and one skein is all you need. 
All the information is on the Ravelry page, and the PDF is $7.00 there or on the "head" section of the patterns page here on the blog. 
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THESE IMAGES AND THE STORY on your social media, with your friends, or at your knitting shop. I’m not trying to make any cash myself off this one - but the more you spread the word, the more we help this kid help her community. xo

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Cynar came to be because I kept walking into the North Light Fibers booth at yarn festivals and conventions and could not stop playing with the skeins of Water Street Cashmere DK.  A colorwork hat would justify not one, but two skeins, so....

If you're wondering what to do for Father's day - perhaps the guy in your life needs a simple and luxurious hat?  And there's plenty of time to knit one up - it's super satisfying in this yarn, and totally portable (plus easy to hide!)

Designed also to coincide with the North Light Fiber annual retreat, at which I will be teaching this weekend with my buddy Bristol Ivy,  Cynar is a simple colorwork hat that allows the beauty of the yarn to shine.

I wanted to pair one of the tweedy shades with a solid, and these two together made me so happy, as the rich shade of the Charcoal really allows the hidden flecks in the Santolina to show up. 

A bold colorwork pattern from Andrea Rangel's Alterknits was modified a little to work on the hat, and the medallions on the crown make a lovely design.  It's a quick knit, easily followed and easily modified if you want a shallower or deeper cap. 

And Craig is now hooked on cashmere. 

The pattern is available on both Ravelry and in the Head section of the blog!

And Cynar is a fantastic addition to either a Manhattan or throw a little into a glass of Coke, with ice and lemon.....

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Introducing Armagnac -- with a discount code.  The Ravelry code "springcocktails" will get you $1 off the pattern until 5/12 - and once Jill Draper re-opens and restocks after MDSW on 5/8, the same code will get you free shipping from her Etsy Shop! 

I bought two skeins of Jill Draper's Mohonk Light in this gorgeous minty green on a whim this winter, and as soon as I touched them, I knew they were not going to sit in stash long.  In fact, I went back online about a week later and bought two more skeins in this deep rust color, which I figured was going to match everything I own.

I was right. 

I was in the midst of numerous deadlines and other projects, and this became my relaxation knit.  Something to work on mindlessly without the stress of having to finish, or the parameters of a publication.  The design itself became a simple, soothing knit as I worked on it just to make myself happy for a change - no voices, no guidelines, no deadlines in my head.

Three lace columns, a lot of garter stitch.  Easy to keep track of.  And no sizing to worry about. 

Once I finished, I was super happy.  This is my perfect shawl size, my perfect amount of detail, and the perfect weight.  For the last few cold and dreary months, this thing has NOT left my neck!

I ended up sending the second skeins to my friend Sandy, who knit the green sample for me, and it's even more beautiful in the mint!  Both of these will be at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, in Jill Draper's booth - since the yarn I fell for is her Mohonk Light. It's a fingering weight cormo, it's light and lofty, just a tiny bit rustic, and soft as can be. 

She has tons of it dyed up and ready to go at the festival, and will be restocking her Etsy shop for online sales on 5/8 when she's back home.  So if you are lucky enough to be in MD, stop by and squish everything - and if not, check back in on Tuesday -  and don't forget that discount code...

All the details and the PDF can be found on the Ravelry page or the "neck" section of the blog.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Introducing Ouzo.  I designed this for a Magpie Fibers trunk show this weekend - if you are in the Portland ME area, come say hello at KnitWit on Saturday, 4/21 between 1-3. I'll be there with my new sweater and some friends - designers Bristol Ivy and Beatrice Perron, plus Dami of Magpie Fibers. We will be there with a load of her gorgeous yarns, including Solstice which is what I used here -  it's fantastic yarn, light and lofty and just a little bit rustic.  Listed as a DK, but knits up beautifully at worsted weight, on #7 needles for a nice, quick knit.

But back to the sweater -

Dami asked if I'd like to be part of the trunk show and do a design and I absolutely said yes! I love this yarn, having already designed Desert Sunrise with it about a year ago.

I knew exactly what I wanted.  Because I wanted to own this outfit.  Really - including the clogs (you can see those on the Rav page) and the jeans and the tank top.  It's going to be my go-to summer outfit for porch drinks once the snow stops falling.

I'd been seeing these long, (it's a little longer on me - I'm shorter than my friend Gabriella by a few inches...) flattering summer cardigans in magazines and Pinterest lately and had an idea in my head that I really needed one.  With a little lace. Textured, gorgeous lace.

And some pockets. 

And the bottom of the cardigan would have a lot of ease so that when I wanted to wrap the fronts around me, I could.  But not so much ease that it wouldn't also just be lovely worn open and slouchy.

All the details for this one are on the Ravelry page - and it's available for $7.00 either there or on the blog under Cardigans. 

As for a cocktail?  I hadn't had much Ouzo before this week, but I may have a new favorite cocktail to go with my new favorite sweater.

1 oz vodka
1 oz ouzo
1 packet of sour mix (I like the BarTenders Friend)
2 oz water cold water
.5 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake the above ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Pour over ice in a highball glass and add about 1-2 oz of club soda. Garnish with a lemon slice. 

Depending on the sour mix you use, it may be a little sweet - feel free to add more water, club soda or lemon juice to balance.

Enjoy! Both sweater and cocktail...

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Flor de Jerez!

This one was designed to show off the subtle differences in a hand dyed yarn -- such as the Valley Yarn DK, dyed by Manos shown here.  (That's Bittersweet, one of the 6 colors I created for WEBS)!  This is the latest design in a series of patterns I've worked on this winter for this yarn.

I was going for a balance of both delicate and cozy, and wanted to play with different textures to really highlight the shades of apricot and pumpkin in this colorway. The sweater is actually quite simple to knit, but the combination is pretty striking.

A deep, shallow neckline gives it a nice modern-but-retro feel, and the hem is subtly shaped by the gauge difference between garter and cable panels.

I had a whole bunch of test knitters on this one, and was happily surprised at how it looked great on everyone - and worked in a variety of yarns.  It's easy to modify for depth or width, and although I like it with about 4" of ease for a loose fit, it also works with a more fitted silhouette.

Flor de Jerez is knit seamlessly from the bottom up - sleeves are knit separately and joined at the yoke, and a few short rows shape the neckline. Cables are both written and charted.

You can find all the info, purchase the PDF and see the test knits HERE.

The PDF is also for sale in the patterns section of the blog for $7.00.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Introducing Long Island Iced Tea, a Grandpa Vest I didn't even plan to make, but now that I own it, I am in love with this - and can't believe I lasted so long without a cardigan vest!  What was I thinking?

As you might guess, this yarn was intended to be a long sleeved sweater. I was working on it and for some reason, I just stalled before adding the sleeves.  I knew it was the next step, and I fully planned on knitting them, but instead, I kept wearing the unfinished vest around the house -  over a flannel, over a tee, over a casual dress -- it just worked with everything. 

Gabriella also gave it a whirl, with a simpler shirt - and since she's taller than my sister and me, she wears it with a little less length.  Still looks good.

Who am I to argue, right?  It wanted to be a vest and it's pretty perfect this way. A little slouch, some cozy pockets, a lot of simple ribbed knitting and - another bonus - it was done in no time.

The texture of the ribbing allows the beautiful shades in the hand dyed yarn to really shine, and the oversized fit really lets the drape in the MCN add to the slouchy feel of the piece.  This is one of those times that the yarn + pattern combo is fantastic! 

Melissa Thompson of Sweet Fiber yarns does some incredible shades - and they are all available for pre-order on her website:   Mine is knit in the tea leaves colorway - a gorgeous mix of greens with hints of brown and pale blue thrown in - hence the pattern name!  ;)

All the details, plus a few test knits are up on Ravelry and the pattern is for sale both here on the blog and there for $7.00.


And a Long Island Iced Tea is a classic cocktail -- a  mix of 4 spirits in one powerful drink!  I'm not entirely sure who came up with this or why, and if they actually thought it tasted like iced tea, but it's a fun thing to try (and please do so in moderation...)

Add the below ingredients into a highball glass full of ice and stir gently.

Equal parts vodka, rum, gin, tequila (1 oz ea)
2 oz lemon juice/1 oz simple syrup or a packet sour mix
2-4 oz of cola

Garnish with a lemon twist or wheel.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Genever is a fun little colorwork hat that just makes me happy. 

It was designed to celebrate my feature as the March Designer of the Month over at Stephen and Penelope, the charming yarn shop in Amsterdam owned by Malia Mather and Stephen West.  If you are in the area, do stop by and although I'm not actually there (snif), a few of my sample knits are!

And if you decide to buy your yarn to make this FROM Stephen and Penelope, they have a special Ravelry code they'll give you for $2 off the pattern. That works either online or in person, and it won't expire, ever.  Because.. Genever - there should be some reward for purchasing your yarn for this in the country that made the predecessor to today's gin, shouldn't there be?  We OWE them, don't we?  Because gin.  

The hat itself is a combination of travel memories for me.  I first found out about Genever when traveling to Amsterdam myself a few years ago - the time I met both Malia and Stephen, and sat in on a knit night at the shop, which was the first one in their new location. I also went to the Bols museum to learn all about Genever (highly recommend) and spent a little time sampling as I wandered the city.... 

Plus, the Genever design itself came out of my travels to Shetland last summer, where I spent time with Malia and got to know Andrea Rangel, who dreamed up this lovely little motif and added it to her amazing stitch dictionary, Alterknits

Combining Andrea's motif with Malia's shop in a stranded colorwork hat just seems right.   And like I said, it makes me happy.  I can't wait to see the colorwork combos you come up with!!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

So, yes I did start off nice and slow, didn't I?  I haven't even managed to blog for an entire month.

But I DID release two patterns I wanted to tell you about - again with the wonderful folks over at YOTH.  Last year, for Stitches West, we worked on the Vodka Collection, and we had said this would be the first in a few collaborations with Veronika and her lovely yarns.

I'm looking at the different ways in which we all knit, and thinking about collections that would encompass the different kinds of knitters out there. The Vodka Collection was an exploration of the same shape of cardigan in 3 different ways, ranging from  some stockinette-heavy TV knitting to some  more committed cables - and you can read about those HERE.

So THIS year, we wanted to do another collection and I wanted to look at different types of knitters again, but this time in terms of the types of yarn we pick.  I started with big goals - another 4 (or even 5!) pieces, each in a different weight of YOTH's beautiful yarn, all ready in February.

But thinking about yarn weight made me think about the time of year, and in working on the different pieces, we agreed that we could turn this into a series - there will be more tequila projects as the year goes on, each based on the weather and season of what we want to knit when, and timed as such!

 With that in mind, the first two pieces are Agave and Reposado - something for the last cold weeks of winter, and something for the first warm days of spring!

If you are torn as to which you feel like knitting, the Ravelry code TEQUILA will get you $2 off a purchase of both - without any expiration date - because sometimes we are just between our knitting seasons and need choices, right? 

Agave is a deeply cabled, squishy and satisfying hat, knit in YOTH Father, one of my all-time favorite yarns ever. It's round and soft and makes one of the best fabrics out there, with great stitch definition.  I added some detail at the transition from brim to cable, and some more fun lines at the crown, and it's one last hat to get you over the hump of March.

THEN... Reposado is a light and airy tee, which can be knit now and then worn just as the weather starts to warm up.  It looks great over a loose shirt or dress, and it also works with a tank underneath, for when it gets even warmer.  It has a loose, delicate feel and is knit in YOTH's Best Friend, doubled.

The doubling of the cotton/wool yarn adds to the rustic look to the fabric and makes for a larger gauge knit, which takes less time to knit!   No sleeves, a little lace, and a nice open neckline.

The other pieces in the Tequila Series will follow, a couple for summer and then again in Fall.  Different weights, different types of fabrics - but each for a different knitting mood.   And I have an excuse to keep using ALL of YOTH's lovely base yarns.... (brilliant, right?)

So that was February.  I do have a few things in the works for March....

Friday, February 02, 2018

So yep, January went by without a single new pattern release.  Which is actually OK by me. I have decided that 2018 is going to be the year when I kind of take charge again and knit what I want, when I want - out of the yarns I want to be working in.  I have two more deadlines to meet, and I've been busily working towards them in the background without making myself crazy to release a new pattern or two in the foreground at the same time.  I'm giving you guys time to catch up too, right?

My plan is to maybe release a little less, but to be sure each piece is something I love, that I really think you'll love and that I can be really proud of  this year.  No more cranking something out by X date just for some exposure or the chance to work on a particular project, or squeezing  just one more thing into a time frame and then making the yarn do something that works because I don't have more time to keep thinking about it!  But - we'll see how that goes....  (tuition still looms, right?)

I also want to be proud of all the things that I have out there from the past, so I'm continuing to update the patterns from my early days that are a little behind the times in terms of style and amount of detail I used to include.  My plan is to get all the popular designs up to speed. 

Irish Coffee's the latest.  I re-released that about 2 days ago.  It's always been one of my favorite patterns, but it just needed a little rehab in terms of format and better charts and more schematic information, among other things. It has all of that now! And there's a code for 50% off the pattern through 2/4/2018 if you didn't originally purchase this one through Ravelry in the past...

Also released today is another not-exactly-new but still one of my favorite designs from the past. 

My Pike Stout Poncho from By Hand Serial is now mine to sell as an individual pattern!  I did love this project, and had always wanted a poncho that wouldn't overwhelm me - the shape and proportions were something I was really happy with - and I find myself wearing this one around a lot this winter.

 I promise I AM working on a few new things - some you'll see around Mid February - but for now, I hope you enjoy these two and are also having a good, relaxing beginning to your 2018. 

With so much happening in the world around us, I for one, am glad for some soothing, rewarding knitting in the months to come....  Starting with an Oban hat-inspired sweater!!! 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Although this one is new to many of you, it's actually not a brand new design to me.  I designed the Blackthorn Cowl for the Neighborhood Fiber Company Inner Loop Club in 2016!  It was mid summer when the club was over, so the cowl waited until Fall 2017 - but then a whole bunch of things happened this Fall that made us wait until now.  Phew!  It's pretty perfect for right now though.

And right now, Neighborhood Fiber has a wonderful yarn that works perfectly as a substitute for the Skyline Aran - their Studio Chunky.  It really shows off Karida's gorgeous saturated colors and it's lovely and squishy and perfect for a chunky, bold cowl like this. 

Serious texture, simple lace, a few eyelets, and a fantastically satisfying yarn.  I promise.

And because it's taken me such a while to get this out, even though a few of you were asking, the code BLACKTHORN will get you $2.00 off the $6.00 price until end of day on 1/16/2018. 


Saturday, January 06, 2018

You all know how I feel about 2017, but it made it just a little easier to know that I could use my voice and my needles to try to help make a difference in some small way.  As promised last January, I decided that every 3 months or so, I would release a pattern where a portion of the proceeds would support an organization I think does important work to protect and support things I feel are at risk right now.

Thanks to you,

$350  went to Women of Tomorrow out of sales of Rob Roy.  (and Dami of Magpie Fibers was able to give even more from her yarn sales of Domestic Worsted!)  Women of Tomorrow helps teenage girls from the inner cities get to college with mentoring, scholarships, and guidance.

$450 went to the Malala Fund out of Mamie Taylor sales. The Malala Fund is dedicated to bringing education to girls around the world, especially in countries where they are already at a disadvantage.

$150 went to Cradles to Crayons from London Fog. Cradles to Crayons gives needy and homeless kids across Massachusetts clothing, school supplies, and other tools they need to thrive.

And , just this week, because you bought over 200 copies of Rusty Nail, I wrote a check for $300 to Emily's List!  That last one will help get women in office across the country this year.

$1250 may not seem like it can make a giant difference right now, but every little bit helps - and as knitters we know that smaller actions here and there add up..

I know it's hard to keep it up and feel like we can move the dial here, but for me at least, I think it's been important to choose a few things that I think make a difference, and do those. I can't fix it all, but this way I feel like I'm still fighting for the things I want to see in the world.

If  I can be so bold as to post a little advice here, please just keep on doing whatever it is you are doing, and don't get disenchanted.  Spread the word about the changes and actions you think are important, and encourage your friends and family to do the same! It's a long haul, but we need to keep on it.