Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Saint Rémy

This is rather a late post and I'm sure you've all noticed by now, but if you haven't, my sweater pattern, Saint Rémy in the latest issue of Knitty!!
That's me!!  I am simply beside myself with excitement.  This is my very first professionally published pattern and in Knitty!!  I could gush for roughly years about how happy this makes me, but will suffice to say that I am deeply flattered and honored to be included in such an illustrious and well-seasoned publication.  Thank you, too, all those involved in the decision-making and editing processes that made this possible.  Another big thank you to Bristol Ivy for her absolutely stunning photography!

My first inspiration was the color palette - the vibrant contrast of the canary yellow against a deep, regal blue - and was unable to break away from images of starry skies.  And, art history dork that I am, I kept coming back to Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, struck by the similarities in color and shape between my swatches and the Dutch painter's depiction of the night sky of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France.  Thus, Saint Rémy, the sweater was born!
The yarn is Quince & Co.'s Finch, a smooth, but delightfully springy fingering weight yarn.  I think it's fair to say this is my new favorite yarn.  It comes in an astonishingly vibrant variety of colors and the smooth ply is equally friendly to cables and colorwork.  Plus, it's soft and squishy and a real pleasure to wear.  I totally could not wait for the first rainy day after this pattern came out just so I could take her out in public - who cares if it's June?? (I mean, those photos were taken last August, anyway)

Saint Rémy is an elegant, fitted sweater suitable for work or play.  The brilliantly colored yoke draws the eye upward to the wearer's face and the subtle waist shaping serves to flatter any body type.

So please, tell all your friends! Add it to your Ravelry queue! Cast it on and give it a go!  If you have any questions or confusion, please shoot me an email.

Now that I've finished my little electronic happy dance, I hope you all have a lovely fiber-ful day!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Allerton Cowl

Meet the Allerton Cowl!

My latest cowl pattern comes in TWO sizes this time, worsted (above) and bulky (below)!  

The half-lace, half-stockinette pattern is a real breeze to knit (I knit the entire worsted version while watching the Super Bowl), but never boring.  

Exceptionally elegant:

And supremely cozy:

The worsted version calls for Quince & Co. Lark and the bulky for Quince & Co. Puffin, both beautiful, smooth yarns that feel so lovely against the skin.  I'm so proud of the way this one came out!!



Monday, February 23, 2015

Rook: A Sweater

An actual, full-sized person sweater!  Hurray!

 Please excuse the terrible lighting - I was just so excited to finally have my husband home and available to take pictures (poor thing's a tax accountant :( ).  Can you just see the delight in my face?  It could be Walker's presence...or it could be that sweater.  It's just that pretty.

I really love this sweater - it's so cozy and warm and look at all the pretty cabling down the front!  It's mirrored on the back and, to a lesser extent, down the sleeves.  I wore this bad boy skiing a few weeks ago and barely felt the cold!  I probably couldn't say the same thing if I were to venture out today, but that's February in New England for you.  -21 degree windchill just hurts my fingers to type!

I ended up making it a little bit wide for myself - you can especially see that in the sleeves, but that means it's the perfect size to wear over a blouse to the office.  I swear I must have the coldest corner in our building, so I expect that this sweater will be making many an appearance before spring comes.

The patter is Rook by Kyoko Nakayoshi.  It took me a couple of tries to get started, but mostly because I didn't like the raglan increases as written.  They seemed to like yarn over based increases and, frankly, they look a little sloppy to me on a cabled sweater, so I changed it to lifted increases.  You can actually see a little hole on my left shoulder where I tried and abandoned the yarn over increases.  Live and learn, right?

I also made the mistake of overestimating the amount of yarn I would need to make this sweater, but that just means that I get a matching hat now, too!

This one's another Brooklyn Tweed pattern by Jared Flood: Skiff.  I looove huge cabled patterns like this one - it means they never got boring!  They're simple enough that you can memorize the shape of it, but you don't get bogged down in endless repeats.

The yarn I used for both of them is Knit Picks Full Circle Worsted.  I really like it for cables - they tend to pop nicely, plus it's super soft.  Beware, though, it's not an easy yarn to work with.  It's not spun very tightly (at all), so watch out for splitting.  And don't abuse the finished garment since it tends to grow a little.  Or a lot, in the case of my first foray into cat sweaters (I still have a small bump on my forehead from chasing him under the dining table!).  Do not use this yarn for pet garments!  The looseness does give it a considerable amount of loft and a lot of insulation, though - super warm!  Great pieces for a cold day like today!

What is your favorite yarn for bitterly cold days?


Monday, February 9, 2015

A Little Winter Stashbusting

Remember me complaining about being over winter about a month ago?  And that was before all these storms!  It seems like we've gotten a snow storm every other day!  We're seriously running out of places to put the snow.  I ask myself every morning why on Earth we decided to live in Maine.

...and then I go into my closet and see all the warm winter woollies! (Bear with me - I'm looking for the silver lining). Californians just don't get the same kind of sweater selection.  And come on, you don't get to wear octopus gloves in Miami!!

How cute are they??  I mean, when you put them on, your fingers become tentacles!

The pattern is Kraken Knuckles by Annie Watts and they were almost as much fun to knit as to wear.  That inventive pattern never gets boring and did I mention the finger-tentacle thing?  These are just one example of a big stashbusting project, but probably my favorite so far.  The purple is leftover from my favorite sweater evar and the gray is leftover from an original pattern that's due to release next month (I wish I could tell you more about that - I'm SO EXCITED).  They are fun, they are warm, and also, finger-tentacles.

One other success was with some lace-weight yarn I'd bought for the 100 Diamonds Shawl, after which I had about 800 yards left!  So many options there!  Ravelry is chock full of gorgeous lacy shawls and I ended up settling on an old favorite: the Echo Flower Shawl by Jenny Johnson Johnen:

This one came out even better (and bigger) than the last time I tried it!  What a beautiful design!

Here is a closeup of the pattern:

The bulk of the pattern is pretty easy to memorize, but not so simple to bore the knitter.  I wouldn't recommend this one to someone just starting with lace, but what a beauty to aspire to knit!  I'm really looking forward to taking this one out for a stroll!

Oh, and I also made the cat another sweater.  I just couldn't call myself a crazy cat lady if I stopped at one, right?

Isn't he sweet?  It was snowing and he was just fascinated - even tried to get the snowflakes through the glass door.

I used the same pattern as last time, just with a yarn that had some nylon in it.  The last time I used Knit Picks's Full Circle, which is lovely, but doesn't have much  memory to it, so the first sweater stretched and stretched and that little peanut was able to wriggle his way out of it every night.  It sort of became a game every morning - "Hunt the Sweater."  That is, until I wound up with a giant bruise on my face from trying to chase the little munchkin under the dining table!

Of course, the solution was not "let the cat run around without a sweater."  For a knitter-cum-crazy-cat-lady, the answer was "buy more yarn!"  So I did.  I bought some Berocco Vintage, which is blended with nylon for ease of care and he's been stuck in there for almost a month!  Problem solved!

That is until all his hair grows back and I get to vacuum it all up again, hurray!

Enjoy your snow day kiddies!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Spring Shoots Cowl

Okay, I've had enough of winter already - time for spring please!  Yes, the snow is lovely and yes, it's cozy inside by the fire, but it's coooold!

So cold that I actually made the cat a sweater:

You know you're a crazy cat lady when...

Really, though, our poor baby had mats and we had to get him shaved.  I felt like the worst kind of cat mommy (what is wrong with me - cat mommy?), leaving my precious charge in an unfamiliar place so they could knock him out and cut off all his hair???  Someone call PETA on me.

But then he was just so sad and shivery and I couldn't let the poor, little thing catch kitty pneumonia, right?   So I did what any crazy knitting cat lady would do and I made him a sweater!!  Adorable, right?

ANYWAY, what I was trying to say is that all this cold has me dreaming of those little green shoots that mean rebirth and renewal and the return of warmer weather.  Hence the name of my newest original creation, the Spring Shoots Cowl:

It's a simple cowl in Shibui Knits Baby Alpaca that's knit flat to the desired length and finally grafted together to make one continuous piece.  This would be an excellent piece for a first stab at lace!

I know chevrons are (or were) everywhere right now, but I was playing around with lace patterns and this one just screamed "spring!" to me.  The lines are simple and clean, and inexorably shoot upwards with spring's eternal optimism.  Plus, the yarn is SO soft.  You will absolutely want to squish it against your face all year.  I think I might even wear it tonight!

I'm really in love with these photos, too!  Bristol Ivy and I went out to Mackworth Island for a little photo shoot and she did such a marvelous job.  Just beautiful and so flattering!  I'm sure you guys know what a genius she is at knitting design, but she has such a wonderful talent for photography.

Give it a try!  Let me know what you think!  I'm anxious to see how you guys like the pattern!

That's all for now - be well and stay warm.