7.29.2013

Echo Earrings: Next Patternworks Kit Club Design!

Last week I heard that the next kit in my Patternworks Knit Jewelry Kit Club shipped... which means I get to show you my latest design for it!  Ready?
Echo Earrings
Echo Earrings are little knit bells worked from the top down in the round with beads slipped up in between stitches.  It will probably take longer to string on the beads than it will take to knit these babies, and I know you'll have fun with this simple summer knit!
Echo Earrings
I went all out with materials for this kit and  along with Anzula's Milky Way (a milk protein fiber and merino blend) I used two different shapes of Size 8 beads and Sterling Silver tear drop earrings.  This yarn from Anzula is unique and SCRUMPTIOUS to work with.... I think more than one of you might be wanting to knit a shawl in this yarn next!
Echo Earrings
MATERIALS Included in Kit
4 yards Anzula Milky Way
   (80% milk protein, 20% merino wool);
2 Sterling Silver teardrop earrings
   with jump rings
116 Size 8 glass beads (R- round)
8 Size 8 triangle glass beads (T- triangle)
Dental floss threader
Video Tutorials!

MATERIALS NEEDED
Three US size 1.5 [2.5 mm] double pointed ndls

Echo Earrings-Kit

7.26.2013

A Little Recharge!

The weather finally cleared this week and we decided last minute to take off camping with friends at Raystown Lake in PA. The girl didn't have plans this week, and instead of spending it bouncing back and forth and feeling guilty for not doing anything fully we choose to escape our screens and go PLAY!
There is NOTHING BETTER than a quick recharge... the deadline for my manuscript is next week making it perfect timing!  We mountain biked on some of the most amazing trails I have ever rode, tried out paddle boarding for the first time, and just chillaxed, perfection is an understatement.  I have been really enjoying Instagram lately, which you can tell from these photos, right?

I even did a little stitching with my favorite knitting buddy!


Then, I ran out of yarn for my Beach Street Park in Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk on the way home! Time to wind that last ball for book edits...
Bet you've been waiting to hear who the winner is from the Metropolitan Knits giveaway.... congrats to #5, Sandy, get in touch so we can get your book out to you.  I loved hearing which designs you all wanted to knit from Melissa's book!

7.15.2013

Metropolitan Knits: A GiveAway and Interview with Melissa

If you read my blog a few months  ago, you'll know that I already had plans to knit a sweater out of Melissa Wehrle's new book from Interweave Press/F+W Media Metropolitan Knits.  So imagine how quickly I said YES when Melissa asked me to review the book and do a giveaway on my blog.  I've always adored Melissa's designs, AND am so intrigued by her day job.  So instead of my usual review I thought an interview with Melissa so we could all get to know more about her would be great fun!
 Since I know you personally, I know a bit about your day job…. But my readers don’t, will you share with them a bit of what you do Monday-Friday?  
For my full-time job, I am a Senior Designer for a junior sweater company. My job mainly consists of working with the design team to develop colors, trends, and designs for each season. We work about a year ahead of time, using trend services and tons of hands on research to predict what our customers will be wearing in the future. Sketches, measurements, and pictures of swatches are sent over to our factories in China, who produce our samples on knitting machines. While my knowledge of hand knitting is helpful, actual hands on knitting is not a part of my full-time job.
What are some differences when you are designing a sweater for factory production vs. hand knitting?
For our particular customers, I have to be mindful of the cost of the garment. Adding an extra seam, a lace pattern that has too many holes, or a cable that has too many transfers (in the hand knitting world, this means whenever you need to cross your cable or move a stitch to the left or right) all need to be taken into account. All of these things will slow down the machine knitting time, which in turn, increases the cost of the garment. We are also limited to using certain yarns, you won't find any wool, alpaca, or silk in our design room! Also, knitting something in one piece is not an option for us. There are machines out there that can knit something all in one piece, including the pockets, buttonbands, and pockets, but it just costs too much and we don't have access to them.
For example, here is the Magnolia Cafe Cardigan. In the machine knitting world, we would design this a bit differently to bring down the cost of the garment. This cable pattern is a bit too complicated, so it would have to be changed to a standard 4x4 cable that crosses every 1" to 1 1/2". The smaller cable that hugs the neckline would stop at the collar instead of curving upwards toward the shoulder. If we could afford pockets, they definitely wouldn't be knit in, they would be sewn on, and the cut little hot pink pocket lining detail wouldn't exist. The yarn would be Acrylic instead of gorgeous organic wool and the gauge would be a bit smaller, more along the lines of a DK weight. Finally, the wooden buttons would probably be replaced with something plastic.

Do you have any favorite finishing techniques that you like to use in hand knitting that don’t translate well to machine knitting? Or vice versa?
I really like to overlap pieces of knitting seamlessly, such as the little sleeve slit detail on the Carriage House Cardigan or the faux surplice on the Open Air Pullover. This is a technique that we just don't have access to in the machine knitting world unless a fancy machine is available.

I know many of my readers are accessory knitters and haven’t yet tackled sweater knitting. If they were to choose a sweater from Metropolitan Knits as their first sweater, which would you suggest? Why?
Since I only get to pick one, I think the Cobblestone Hoodie would be a good choice for a beginner. It's a classic style that would be useful in anyone's wardrobe. The yarn isn't too thin, so progress will be fairly steady, the color changes give the knitter something to look forward to (and is easily customizable), and the knitting is fairly straight forward since two parts of the shaping never need to be worked "at the same time". They will learn how to shape a sweater, work a small bit of overlapping stitches at the split at the neck, how to add a hood, and how to work a set-in a sleeve, not to mention they will get to block the garment and sew it all together.

Do you have a favorite design (or two) from the book?
This is such a hard question! I suppose if I have to choose, the Magnolia Cafe Cardigan and the Grand Army Plaza Shawl would be at the top of my list. It also happens that they were my two favorite to knit as well.

I have Washington Square Cardigan in my Queue (and even already have the yarn for it!) Any suggestions for fit that I should think about before casting on? I have narrow shoulders and am concerned the neckline might be too wide for me.
Since this is a bulkier sweater, having the proper fit in the shoulder is important to keep a nice smooth look. To begin, I would compare your measurements to the schematic and check to see if the full shoulder width for your size is at least 1" smaller than your actual measurement shoulder bone to shoulder bone. If it's too wide and an adjustment needs to be made, it should be fairly simple in the larger gauge. You might only need to remove one or two stitches from each armhole. Just keep in mind that the stitch pattern may be interrupted in the armhole area on some sizes depending on how many stitches you need to remove.If the shoulder does need to be brought in, I would also share the same concern that the neck might be too wide for you. Again, this should only involve adding a few stitches to either side to close it up a bit. To make sure the neckline keeps a nice round shape, instead of a U shape, I would suggest graphing out the changes on graph paper. You may need to raise the neck drop by a row or two to keep a similar shape. Since your neck width will now be smaller, you will also need to pick up fewer stitches for your collar. You may also want to consider making the collar a little bit shorter. 

WOW, thanks Melissa, it's so wonderful to get advice from the sweater's designer on how to mod the pattern for my body!  Can't wait to cast on!  It's going to be a great fall jacket!

Interweave had generously offered to send one of you a copy of Melissa's new book Metropolitan Knits.  All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know which pattern you'd love to knit from her book!  Comments will close on Sunday July 21st at 12 EST and I'll let you know who the winner is the next day!

7.10.2013

Cheerio Kits: A Knit Necklace!

Cheerio Kit and Pattern

Guess what? Copyright on the first pattern in my Patternworks Knit Jewelry Kit Club, Cheerio,  reverted back to me, and I just had to release the kit in more colors as well as in pdf format for those who have bead stashes!
Cheerio Kit and Pattern
The Cheerio kit comes in five different colors of Shibui Staccato, a strong merino silk fingering weight yarn.  I found a source of the Czech Cheerio beads necessary for this design and had a great time choosing colors that worked well together.... making kits is a little bit too much fun!
Cheerio Kit Contents

The Details
Materials Included in the Cheerio Kit
:
14 yards fingering weight yarn Shibui Staccato (70% superwash merino, 30% silk)
68 Size 8 triangular glass seed beads (bead A)
176 Size 8 round glass seed beads (bead B)
5 Czech glass Cheerio beads (bead C)
Dental floss threader
Snap clasp
Cheerio pattern which is necessary for working this kit.

You will Need
US Size 2 [2.75 mm] needles
Sewing thread and needle to sew on clasp

Finished Size
18 inches around by 1 inch at widest point

7.05.2013

Cabling by the Campfire...

We've just landed back from a glorious few days camping in Gatineau! I finished a second Obsessio for it's public release in August in my new favorite yarn, Meadow by firelight (fun times)! 

We ended up at Lac Philippe on a whim, it was the only place we could find on the radar that was a day's drive away and didn't have rain. There were fabulous trails to bike along, some isolated mountain lake swimming, and just a few bugs : )! 

And look what I brought back.....
I hope it's enough to see me through this month's workload : )!!!!!!