9.30.2013

Forzo Cuff: Next Patternworks Kit Club Design!

Well, it's the end of September already, which means the 5th kit in the Patternworks Knit Jewelry Kit Club shipped and I can tell you all about it!

Forzo Cuff

Forzo Cuff is a lace cuff designed to give you SUPER POWERS (Forzo means power in Latin).  Forzo Cuff incorporates double sided lace (the stitch is both charted and written out), prestrung beads that are worked onto yarnovers, placed beads (with Super Floss), and attached i-cord. You are sure to learn while knitting this cuff!  The pattern has video tutorials to teach you the techniques you aren't comfortable with.  I used a new-to-me lace yarn with this design, Fiesta Yarn's Ballerina, and will plan to use it for a future shawl... one of the things I love about this club is that it gets small amounts of really lovely yarns onto knitter's needles!

Forzo Cuff

Forzo Cuff Kit MATERIALS INCLUDED IN KIT
20 yards (2 grams) Fiesta Yarn Ballerina
(50% Alpaca, 50% Tencel)
56 Size 8 glass seed beads (approx 2 grams)
5 Size 6 glass seed beads (approx .5 grams)
Slide clasp
Super floss
Dental floss threader

MATERIALS NEEDED
US size 2 [2.75mm] needles
  or size needed to obtain gauge
1 set US size 2.5 [3mm] double pointed needles,
  or one size larger than needed to obtain gauge
Tapestry needle
Scrap lace yarn in contrasting color
1 Size C [2.75mm] crochet hook (for cast on)
2 Stitch markers
Coordinating sewing thread and needle

And, of course, I needed to knit one in another colorway because I'm never happy with just "one" of something! This version is done in Sweet Georgia yarn Cash Silk in Ginger with Czech Crystal beads going up the central line.

Forzo Cuff

9.26.2013

Artichoke French: A Rhinebeck Sweater

I've been attending New York State Sheep and Wool festival (aka Rhinebeck) for years! So, when Ysolda asked me if I wanted to contribute a sweater design for her new project The Rhinebeck Sweater, a book dedicated to celebrating the community, yarn, food, spirit and sweaters of the festival how could I say no? 
It took me like half a second to choose the yarn I wanted to use, Jill Draper Makes Stuff, Empire a ginormous 1280 yard ball of hand dyed, springy and soft 100% Rambouillet wool. When thinking about color, I thought about food (one of Rhinebeck's themes). The one thing I stand in line for every year is Artichoke French. Artichoke French is a concoction of breaded, sauteed artichoke hearts with a wine, lemon, butter sauce... mmmmm. All I had to do is say "artichoke" to Jill and she dyed the perfect color!
When considering the design I knew I wanted a bottom up, seamless sweater that was fitted to the body AND had built in fingerless mitts.  Rhinebeck can be chilly and I don't like to be encumbered by many layers.  It's easier for me if the experience is streamlined, then I can eat/knit and chat my way through the festival without loosing a my mittens or cardigan.
Ninja Cuffs, as integrated fingerless mitts are referred to in my house, are a favorite of mine and my girl's in the fall and winter. In fact, this is the first sweater I've designed the girl has asked for!  If that's not a vote of confidence, I don't know what is!
Artichoke French has compound raglan (my first.... ouch the math) shaping with an artichoke leaf stitch that is created by manipulating elongated stitches, running up the side seams and raglan line to the mock turtleneck.  I think the math on this sweater took me longer than knitting it, but in the end, with 16 sizes, and a full schematic, it was well worth it.  This is the way sweater designs should be written and I LOVED being asked to challenge myself . 
The official release for the book is November 6th but you can pre-order it now! There are 12 phenomenal sweaters in this book, designed by 12 AMAZING women and photographed stunningly by Ysolda and crew.  You really do need to go grab a cup of something hot and take a peak at the look book.  I can't wait to get my hands on a printed copy! The Rhinebeck Sweater is a knitting book, but is also a gorgeous coffee table book, with stories, recipes, tips, animals, photos and patterns! 


All the details for Artichoke French can be found on Ravelry. More sweaters from the book will be appearing there in the next few days so that you can gather supplies for when your book arrives!  I did just get word that Jill will have Empire balls in Jennie the Potter's booth #27A-9, so now you really have a reason to get on line right away!  
Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you... there's an Artichoke French Recipe in the book as well!  I did some reading, practiced some methods, fed my family a few meals of artichokes and figured a recipe out that is "almost" as good as you can get at Rhinebeck!  See how much I like it?
And the winner of the Ricefield Collective giveaway???? Congrats to Hannah P  I've been using my bag EVERY DAY and I bet you will too!  Get in touch so I can send your bag out to you!

9.24.2013

Stereo Cuff: Now available as a pdf!

Guess what?  Stereo Cuff rights have reverted back to me... and it's now available as a pdf from my website and Ravelry!
Stereo Cuff
With 10 yards of yarn from your stash and 3 different colors beads you will have a blast coming up with millions of different versions of this 8 stitch cuff!  As you can see from the photos... I couldn’t stop making them once I got started!
Stereo Cuff
Stash Yarns Used Clockwise from Top Left: Mercerized Pima Cotton, JDMS Secret Yarn, Malabrigo Sock, Malabrigo Sock, Mercerized Pima Cotton, JDMS Secret Yarn, Schaefer Yarn Anne.
I think we should organize a Stereo Cuff swap, don't you? Who is in?

9.20.2013

Ricefield Collective: An Update and Giveaway!

Remember last spring when I was all jazzed up about this Kickstarter?  Well, Ricefield Collective managed to raise $73,045, $48,445 more than their goal and has been going FULL BORE ahead with the project!  It is so wonderful to see a Kickstarter meet it's goals, AND fulfill it's obligations, AND help people!

For those of  you not familiar with Ricefield Collective, they craft handmade knitted accessories with US wool (Quince and Co!) that keep Philippine indigenous people on their ancestral land. Their fall collection is on the site now, and their winter collection will be launching in October. I'm already realizing that I won't have time to knit all the holiday gifts I want to... thinking my daughter's teachers might get hats from Ricefield for their pressies! It's a present I can certainly feel good about!

I'm a lucky as Meredith Ramirez Talusan, one of Ricefield's founders, lives in Ithaca, and we met this week for coffee, chatter,  knitting and so I could get my backer reward in person.  Meredith has a masters in photography and I coerced her into taking pics of me wearing my new cowl and hat.... Thanks Meredith!  I am so excited to make a new local friend! 
My new slouchy cap and cowl!  Meredith caught my bad-ass self! Who knew?
I think this cap has the BEST POM-POM EVER!
My cowl and cap came in a handsewn bag with a photo of Jacinta the woman who knit it... I LOVE that there is this personal piece to Ricefield's packaging.  It is a reminder that a real person made my set!  And also, that baby?  SO CUTE!


Meredith also gave me a beautiful handwoven bag made by some of the women in the collective on floor looms.  Anna Maltz, the design director behind Ricefield, designed the bags and worked with the weavers to bring them to fruition when she was in the Philippines earlier this year. 
Meredith explained to me that though there are about about seven looms at the local weaving center, only three women work there now, and they're not passing on their skills to the next generation because the amount of work they have has steadily diminished. Weaving in the Philippines is becoming a lost art as the second-hand clothing industry that has displaced much of the woven fabric production in the region.  I'm not sure if the bag will go into production or not, but it would be great to get those looms humming again!
photo credit: Anna Maltz
And guess what? Ricefield also gave me a bag for you!  Who wants a chance to win it?  I'd love to hear what you think of this venture, I for one, am thrilled to see the change being brought to Ifugao! Leave a comment by the end of the day on September 25th!

I'm off to the Fingerlakes Fiber Festival this weekend and I'm bringing my new bag!

9.16.2013

Ms. Bertha in the House!

Ms. Bertha 
Oh my... between The M Club opening for sign-ups AND being deep into manuscript revisions I have been reeling with work (in a good way!)  This afternoon I finished all my commitments for the day and needed to take a break and sew a little something.... the first project I ran into on my studio table was this kit I got at Purl Soho last year.
Ms. Bertha
It's a dish towel that's also a shaped pillow!  Created by UK designer Sarah Young this is simple sewing... I'll admit to having a hard time cutting it up as it's an awfully cute dish towel, but this girl needed to get her sewing on!
Ms. Bertha
It took me about an hour from start to finish... I think the most work was going through my bins to find wool stuffing to fill her with!  I stuffed her TIGHT so she can stand up and hopefully not get too floppy over time!
Ms. Bertha
She does seem at home in the studio too!
Ms. Bertha
Now, I'm wondering, don't you think she needs a fox friend?

9.10.2013

PA Knitting Tour 2013!

Well, I'm back from a FUN whirlwind teaching weekend in Pennsylvania, 7 classes, 3 hotels, 4 days... I almost felt like a rock star, BUT there was no tour bus, and I had to drive myself : (!

I hadn't taught since late last spring, and I really missed it, sharing my passion for knitting and learning from others really is one of my favorite parts of this job!  Once again I forgot my camera and took photos in spurts with my phone.  I need to get better at this part of travel!  Sorry for the less than phenomenal pics!

I started off at Mountain Knits and Pearls, in East Stroudsburg, PA.  Mountain Knits and Pearls is a yarn AND bead store... we were made for each other : )!
My Mudra students all holding up their projects, we had FUN!
Tricia, stringing beads for Spumante, after knitting her swatch, and wearing her Mudra!
Joanne, the store's fearless leader and myself posing in front of YARN!
After leaving Stroudsburg I headed straight to Harrisburg for Knitter's Day Out!  This Jeep greeted me in the parking lot... Cathy from The Mannings know's how to pimp her ride!
I taught three classes at KDO, but only managed to get this one photo of my students fondling shawls during a recess of my Shawl Shaping class.  The students at KDO are dedicated learners, and working with them was a blast!
Natalie, who was working with Space Cadet Yarns wore her Whirlpool Socks in Stefanie's sock base... LOVE them with her converse!  On my teaching breaks I hung out and drooled in their booth!
On Sunday I spent the day teaching Knitting with Beads and Spumante to the Red Rows Knitting Guild... I'm so sorry missed taking more photos... we had a fabulous time together! 
This is Terry from Flying Fibers and Rhonda the guild's education coordinator!
And at the end of it all I celebrated with Colleen... who I've "known" for going on 7 years, but never met.  We were long over due for our visit and it was EPIC!  (and yes, those are champagne cocktails... we were celebrating!)  We met at John J. Jeffries in Lancaster, a farm-to-table dining establishment, it was TOO YUMMY... if you go to Lancaster, eat there!  Promise?
To make it through the weekend I wore my new Stereo, cause it has super powers....
look for the pattern next week!  It's almost ready!
Oh, and the winner for Carol Feller's new book Among Stones?  Congrats SandyGB  get in touch and I'll forward your info onto Carol! 

Finally, I know many of you are chomping at the bit, ready to sign up for The M Club the moment it goes live!  I will be sending out an e-mail when it does, and will announce the opening on Facebook, Twitter and Ravelry but as of right now Sign-ups will open at 12 pm EST! That's HIGH NOON my time.  Let's try not to crash the server...  

9.05.2013

Among Stones: Blog Tour and Giveaway!

When Carol Feller asked me to be a stop on her Blog Tour for Among Stones, her latest self published book, I jumped at the chance to join in as I couldn't wait to have an excuse to pour over the book and get to call it work at the same time!
Among Stones
Since I am a knitter, (but you already knew that, right?) the first thing I do when I get a new knitting book is look to see what I want to make!  (Remember my Metropolitan Knits review and my crush on the Washington Square Cardi?)  Well the first thing that jumped out at me was Liathite, a perfectly functional hoodie with shaping which is what I need in a sweater.  It has a bit of negative ease designed into the garment so that it is fitted.... over time I have learned this is a necessity for me to end up with a sweater I love. 
liathe2
I know those cables will keep the knitting interesting, and since it's worked top down I'll be able to try it on as I go to make sure it's working for me!  As I flipped through the pattern in earnest yesterday (and considered my stash yarn) I was struck by the comprehensive schematic for the sweater.  I LOVE a detailed schematic... it is much easier to modify to a pattern when you understand the target measurements.  Go Carol!
Liathite
I am also struck by the details that Carol incorporates in to her designs.... just look at the lace work on the sides of Gabbro.... LOVE.  I definitely don't have time to knit a sweater at this gauge, but if I did this would be in my queue!!!! 
gabbro side detail
Oh, and another project in the book I KNOW you will like?  Check out Serpentinite!  Carol came up with an ingenious way of making an integrated beaded loop with beads that are slipped in between stitches.  The loop helps keep the scarf in place around your neck AND adds a little bling.  You know I like that : )!
serpentinite loop large
All photos taken by Carol's husband, Joseph Feller, what luck to have a partner who is skilled behind the camera! All in all this book with 5 sweaters, 2 shawls, 1 mitten and hat set, AND a pair of socks is a STUNNER... I do hope you will check it out and support an independent knitwear designer!  (Also Carol is really fun to hang out with late night at TNNA... just sayin')

So Carol, being the sweetie she is, has offered a pdf copy of Among Stones to one of you!  All you have to do is leave a comment to be entered to win!  Comments will be open through Monday September9th.  I'll choose a winner on the 10th when I land home from my 2013 PA Knitting Tour : )!

Thanks for asking me to be a part of the tour Carol! 
2nd of September       Anne Hanson                http://knitspot.com/
5th of September       Laura Nelkin               http://nelkindesigns.blogspot.com/
12th of September     Jean Moss       http://www.jeanmosshandknits.co.uk
19th of September     Karen Kelty                http://www.craftsy.com/blog/
4th of October            Ann Kingstone            http://annkingstone.com/blog/
17th of October          Rachel Coopey            http://www.coopknits.co.uk/
21st of October          Woolly Wormhead       http://www.woollywormhead.com/blog/
24th of October          Ruth Garcia-Alcantud  http://www.rockandpurl.com/blog/
28th of October          Aplayfulday                http://aplayfulday.blogspot.co.uk/

9.03.2013

The M Club: Sign ups open Sept 12th!


I know I've been teasing and hinting over the last few weeks... but that secret I've been keeping is ready to let out of the bag!  I'm starting my first ever Mystery KAL Kit Club!  Can I get a WOOT WOOT?

You can read more about the club and it's schedule here and check out the FAQ page here.

Sign ups open on September 12th, I'll send out an e-mail when they are open, so you'll hear first if you are on my mailing list!

I've also set up a Ravelry group just for the Club, so if you have questions... head on over there!

And for those of you who read through all of that.... YES, I am going to have 4 Mystery KAL's in 2014, that should keep us all busy until the book comes out!