Happy New Year and Happy Knitting!
Who's ready to wave goodbye to 2016? I know I am! Between the election, a hurricane and a deployment, this year was a miserable mess. Let's kick 2016 to the curb and celebrate with a FLASH SALE!
December 30-31 my Azalea & Rosebud Knits patterns are 50% off when you use coupon code byebye2016.
Happy New Year and Happy Knitting!
Meet my newest pattern, Yvaine Cardigan! Now through Nov 11, 2016, it is 25% off on Ravelry (no coupon code needed).
After my lesson in perseverance with my Daiva Cardigan, I thought my next cardigan would be a bit easier since I was going to use a typical construction. I spent three weeks knitting the body, and kept wondering why it looked a little funny.
Finally I stopped being lazy (and, perhaps, blissfully ignorant?) and got out my measuring tape. The body circumference was a full 4" too big!!! I went back to my spreadsheet and found a big error (a typo in my gauge!) which, of course, affected every measurement and made my sweater sized for a small elephant. (Ok, not quite that big, but still far too big for me).
So I reworked all the math, and with a few sniffles, I ripped out three weeks worth of knitting. Then I had a glass of wine. But the bright side of this story is that I made a few more tweaks (including changing the rib pattern), and ended up with a cardigan I absolutely love.
Designing large stitch motifs is sort of my "thing", and I had a lot of fun coming up with the three diamond motifs in this pattern.
I wanted to create a classic vintage-inspired cardigan that looked chic but was also very comfortable and functional. There have been so many times where I wished I had a small pocket to store my keys while walking my dog, and also wished that my sleeves weren't so tight that I had lumpy bumps from my shirt underneath.
I normally wear my cardigans with jeans or trousers, but for the photoshoot I decided to pair it with my favorite shift dress. The bright color combination really popped, and I managed to look a bit dressed up while feeling very comfortable.
As always, my little helper had to join in on the photos.
Back in March I posted about the challenge of knitting a contiguous sweater for the first time. While the knitting was a small challenge, calculating the math for a range of sizes was even more difficult. I had to put this pattern on the back burner several times, until I was finally able to work out all the kinks. Thanks to my lovely editor, I now have a polished pattern that is ready to meet the world.
Say hello to Daiva! She encompases all the things I love about knitting sweaters: cables, fitted sleeves, and an easy to wear silhouette. Knitted from the top down, I was able to check the fit every step of the way and didn't have to sew any seams!
Through September 4th, this pattern is 20% off. Check out the details here.
I love camping and spending time outdoors. It took me a few years to convince my husband to go camping, and he was really surprised at how fun it was. So when I saw the call for submissions for Interweave Knits Summer 2016, I was really excited to see the Mountain House Retreat theme.
What kind of handknits would you take on a vacation spent in the outdoors? Having spent many family vacations visiting Lake Tahoe, I knew absolutely what I would take: a vest and fitted henley. Both are perfect layering pieces to go from cool crisp mornings to afternoons of hiking and biking.
I am very happy to share with you these two designs, and hope that you can enjoy them on your own vacation retreat.
Available for download here.
Available for download here.
I have two very bad habits when it comes to sewing: First, I don't sew consistently so months go between projects and I lose all my skills, and second, after I cut out a project weeks, months (or in one case, years) go by before I actually sew it and the weather has completely changed into a different season.
I cut out this long-sleeved button-up shirt in early March back when it was still cold. The weather warmed up quickly and I thought oh well. But we're back down to cool temperatures (even a frost last night), so in three sewing sessions I made this shirt and plan to wear is tonight.
The pattern is McCalls 6649, and I basically made view C but without the chest pockets. I measured the pattern in all my 'problem areas' (shoulder width, armhole, waist) and found that a straight size 12 should fit me fine. I was actually surprised in the end just how well it fit; there was no gaping at the armhole, which is always a big problem for me.
I used two quilting fabrics, which I know is a hotly debated topic in the sewing world. I think the quality of the quilting fabric makes a huge different; the 'premium artist brands' feel so much softer and don't seem to fade as quickly as the cheap store brand. I really like color blocking on button-ups, so I had fun going through my stash until I found this navy and white floral print.
My projects seem to turn out their best when I totally ignore the sewing instructions and turn to knowledgeable sewists who sew in a very professional way. Most of this sewing was straightforward, but when it came to sewing the collar and collar stand, I turned to my book Shirtmaking by David Coffin.
His method of sewing the collar looked like it would produce a much nicer result, but the included illustrations were a little vague to me. Luckily, I found the tutorials for the Granville shirt on the Sewaholic website, and Tasia seemed to be following the same book. Her instructions and photos were very clear and helped produce a very nice collar and stand that was symmetrical, and I didn't even cry during the sewing process.
My only disappointment was that I used cheap Pellon interfacing from Joann and it feels very cheap and stiff. I did some research and found that the sewists I admire use interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. Today I ordered three different types/weights, so we'll see on my next project if it makes a big difference.
I've been designing and writing knitting patterns for roughly the last ten years, and it is easy for me to forget what it is like being a new knitter.
Recently I gave a couple knitting lessons to a friend, a new knitter. She showed me a pattern for a shrug and said, with a bewildered look on her face, "What does all this mean? What do I do now?"
Circular needles, gauge, abbreviations, she had never seen any of this before and was (unsurprisingly) lost. So we sat down and I explained each section of the pattern to her and she dutifully nodded her head. It was an easy pattern, and I think it all made sense once I explained it, but I realized then that to a new knitter reading a pattern must be like reading hieroglyphics.
When I came home that day I did a good search to see what resources are out there on how to read a knitting pattern. I came across just a couple, and they seemed a bit vague to me. So, I guess I will have to take it upon myself! I will write a series on how to read a knitting pattern. I will try to remember what questions and confusion I had when I just started out, and I would appreciate any input you have.
What confuses you about reading a knitting pattern? Checking your gauge? Choosing a size? All the abbreviations, 'repeat from' astericks? Leave a comment below with your questions. Stay tuned!
I have been knitting seriously for about 14 years, and during that time I feel like I have at least dabbled in almost all the techniques out there: cables, lace, fair isle, and every sweater construction under the sun. Well, just about every construction. Last year I came across the contiguous method by Susie Meyers, and I was immediately intrigued.
Top down, set-in sleeves, all worked at the same time with a nice shoulder slope. It almost sounded too good to be true to this designer's heart. So, I finally decided to step out of my comfort zone and give it a try.
And, since I like to make things as difficult as possible for myself, I decided to add in three different cables. I had forgotten what it was like to jump into a new technique and the nervousness of wondering if it would work out right, and what if I have to rip back?
The shoulder seam is almost complete, and I'm really liking the results so far.
The pattern is another in my little collection of honeycomb cables. Instead of using two stitches as the 'shoulder seam', I am using a single honeycomb cable, with more intricate cables around the neck and in the back panel.
What techniques have you tried for the first time this year?
Once I find a stitch or technique I like, I tend to get obsessed with it and create several designs around it. At the moment my obsession is with honeycomb cables. Easy to work, especially without a cable needle, they make a great filler for more complicated cable patterns or create a nice allover pattern.
In my current designs I am using honeycomb cables as a filler for shapes outlined by cables.
Here are the instructions for allover Honeycomb Cables.
This stitch pattern uses 1/1 cables:
1/1 LC: Sl 1 st to cable needle and hold to front, k1, k1 from cable needle.
1/1 RC: Sl 1 st to cable needle and hold to back, k1, k1 from cable needle.
Simple and easy, right? Even easier (and faster!) to work when you make the cables without a cable needle. Below are videos with me demonstrating how to work the cables without a cable needle.
Almost a year ago I had the idea to make a small collection of four elegant and refined designs that could mix and match, all worked in the same yarn. My design process always starts with a few scribbles and notes, half-processed ideas that need to ferment in my mind until they are fully developed. Then those scribbles turn into more coherent details, and a more clear and concise sketch. After lots of scribbling, erasing and thinking, these are the final sketches I created.
I decided to call it the Simple Elegance Collection, simple styles worked with elegant details. After receiving my yarns, and taking a deep breath, I jumped into the knitting process. Lots of calculations, knitting, ripping and re-knitting, and eventually these four designs came to life.
First there was Lucine, a yoked skirt.
Next came Janesse, a short sleeved cowl neck pullover perfect to pair with a blazer or leggings.
Going into the holiday season, Katrina made her debut. A fitted cropped pullover with elbow length sleeves, adorned with a vintage brooch.
Finally came Thara, a fitted round yoke cardigan. With all the details in the yoke, only simple jewelry and accessories are needed.
Patterns can be purchased separately, or save money and purchase as an ebook for $15.
I'm on a roll this month, please say hello to my new pattern Thara Cardigan.
I have only made a few round-yoke cardigans, but I find them to be a flattering style. A simple shape and body made interesting with rib and garter stripes.
Cassie loves to knit, read and cook. She sometimes does all three at the same time.