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.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

I have a hard time stopping when I get a hat design in my sights, so in addition to Laphroaig, these two ended up on my needles as well.

And if you are like me, you may have a hard time choosing only ONE to knit, so the Ravelry Code GIFTHATS will take $3.00 off the total if you purchase both!

Glenfidditch was Craig's second gift.  He wanted a hat to cover his ears, in addition to that scarf.  And I had this gorgeous skein of Wisconsin Woolen Spun wool in stash just staring at me.  And it looks so good with the Artifact in Laphroaig, right? 

Glenfidditch features  twisted cables placed in larger open cables, a simple diagonal detail at the brim and a pretty cool crown decrease.  And it's just beautiful in a heathered yarn like the Woolen Spun.  Since that's available in limited quantities, I also suggest Green Mountain Spinnery's Weekend Wool, knit up here in a few colors by my friends Larissa and Kate, and then they were modeled by the  
Men Of The Spinnery.   (calendar idea anyone?)

My other last minute hat, Oban is a simple knit, and it flew off the needles in one day!  Garter stitch, classic 2/2 cables and a gorgeous yarn make a deep, cozy hat with a classic vibe.  It has an extra deep brim to fold back, although it can be modified as a regular beanie quite easily.  

The yarn for Oban is fantastic stuff by Bare Naked Wools - Confection Worsted, a Corriedale fiber available in beautiful neutral shades. This one is Nougat, and it shows off the cable and texture beautifully.   

And I used my extra from Glenfidditch for the pompom! 

Both hats are for sale on Ravelry and the patterns section of the blog for $6.50 individually or $5.00 each if you get both and use the code! 

Monday, December 11, 2017

The weather was just too beautiful this weekend NOT to give Craig his first Hanukkah present a few days early - and go for a hike in it - and make him model the thing.  That's the problem with getting handknits around here, you don't just get the present, you have to do a little work for it as well.

This is Laphroaig, the exact scarf he'd been hinting at.

But he was happy to play in the snow, and I think he does like his new scarf.  See?  Seriously, this is my favorite photo ever right now. This is how everyone should look when we give them something we've knit.  That's some wooly joy right there.

He doesn't ask for much in the hand knit department, but when he does I find I'm a little powerless to say no.  He's always been incredibly supportive of this crazy job I've chosen, and even when the strange or social elements of it have him raise an eyebrow --- you HAVE to go to Scotland with your friends?? - he's never once questioned me or not pitched in to make something happen. 

So yes, when he said he wanted a classic scarf that he could wear to work or to play on the weekend, and it should be exactly this size and it should be soft and warm and just a little rustic as well, I ignored all the other deadlines and cast on.

4 skeins of SHELTER later, this really took no time and was a totally enjoyable break from the cables I also have on the needles!

Of course I wrote it up.  And it's on Ravelry here.  Since it was such a quick knit, and a relatively easy pattern to write as well, I've priced it at only $5 for the PDF.

And I may have made Craig another gift as well, but there's 8 days of Hanukkah.  I'll post that one later this week...

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Introducing Earl Grey Martini

This was totally inspired by the beautiful, intricate shawls I saw this summer in Scotland.  Knit out of delicate, teeny tiny yarn in crazy detail, the traditional shawls of the Shetland Islands are stunning confectionary creations.  But when knit in gray and brown heather, they also manage to feel a little rustic, which I just loved.

(Image from the archives, Shetland Museum Lerwick)

But I know myself.  I'm never putting teeny tiny yarn on my needles, and I don't have the patience to work a thousand lace rows on both the WS and RS of a piece.  And I also love the garter lines of the hap shawls, and figured I'd try to combine some strong garter lines with some delicate lace lines and see what happened.

(Image from The Shetland Trader, Gudrun Johnston)

I was going for a shawl that would be all of these things (because why not, right?)  Rustic, delicate and simple at the same time, knit in a gorgeous wool that was big enough that I'd stay interested.  I chose Ramble by Kettle Yarns, in a deep gray with just a hint of green to it.  Ramble is a fingering yarn. So, yeah - it's close to lace but not exactly. It's a little heftier and can be knit on #6s, which is a bit more approachable for someone like me...

I took some time, swatched a lot, sketched things and finally ended up here, with Earl Grey Martini: 

A little lace - feminine, but still geometric enough to follow easily and bold enough to be distinct, combined with lots of garter stitch, which is short rowed for a deep V at center.  I love the strong lines and the delicate edging, and this combination offered just enough complexity to keep me involved, but not overwhelmed.

The sizing is long and the shawl is deep enough at center, but not huge. I wanted something that could be worn indoors or under a jacket, in addition to being a cozy piece. And yes, I've included notes on adjusting for either length or depth in the PDF.

And I am in love with this Ramble yarn from Kettle Yarn Co, which combines Romney with Shetland wool in a lovely, round, heathered fingering yarn.  It knit up beautifully and the texture of both the garter and the lace is distinct and rustic.

All the information and more photos are up on Ravelry and the PDF is available for $7.00 either there or on the blog, in the patterns section.

As for an Earl Grey Martini,  I found this to be the best one -  although I leave off the sugar rim.
Scroll down, as she's chatty - but the recipe is simple and tasty, and I love the froth the egg whites add!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

These After Midnight Mitts are more pattern in my colorways with WEBS and Manos del Uruguay.  It's been fun to think about what kind of pattern showcases each yarn the best with these, and I am pretty happy with my choice for Smoky.

The lines of this motif highlight the deep grays so beautifully, and they make for a wonderfully squishy fabric, which is kind of perfect and satisfying on your hands on a cold morning...

I also like how the lines of the pattern allow me to play at the ribbings

And around the thumb.

The mitts are a super quick knit - and the pattern itself is extremely simple, just knits and purls!  I've included notes on how to modify these for both length or width. 

A few test knits, and all the rest of the info is on the Ravelry page, where the PDF is available for $6.50.  It's also on the "hands" section of the blog here.

And an After Midnight IS a cocktail --

1 oz bourbon
.5 oz amaretto
.5 oz creme de cacao

Shake those 3 ingredients with ice and strain into a short glass with 1 oz of cream in it.  Stir.