Oh, Knitting Retreats, you are my favorite thing!

This weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to teach at The Yarn Cupboard's annual retreat... and what a BLAST! (Thanks Susan!)

Of course I spent too much time laughing (and knitting) and eating to take too many photos but I do have a few!
A few of us from the Ravelry group... top row: Melanie1275, JustineLark, Lizzie Beans
bottom row: me, and DonnaRHayes
I always fall in love with a project when I go to retreats...
this time it was Lori Versaci's Yuki!  Time to get some yarn for it!
Lynn's Gorgeous Mica Mitts at Show and Tell
Courtney from The Fibre Co joined me on my 30-day plank challenge.
Teaching the Criss-Cross stitch in Cambio Cowl!
Knitting retreats are the perfect balance of work and play.... so excited to get more on my schedule for next year!!!! 


What's Going On?

This is going to be an information packed, chatty blog post.... as there is ALOT going on!  First off, we enjoyed our first warm weather over the weekend... I almost didn't even know what to do with this:
But, spring is a fickle beast, and since there is rain and snow (gasp!) forecast for today I think I'll stay inside and write a blog post!

First up, a few of you have been asking when Life Cycle will be released as an individual pattern.  The answer is: TODAY! Life Cycle was designed to teach more advanced lace techniques in my Craftsy class, Lace from the Inside Out.  The class released a year ago, and the copyright on the pattern has reverted back to me!

Life Cycle is a square of heirloom lace. Worked from the center out, Life Cycle can be made either with fingering-weight yarn for a baby blanket, or with lace-weight yarn for a shawl. The square is worked with a succession of stitches that introduce new lace techniques as you knit. The shawl version contains one more section than the baby blanket to ensure a large enough wrap. Finally, an edging is worked all the way around the square, finishing it off.
Speaking of Craftsy, students are really starting to dive into my new class... and (phew!) they are loving it!  You can check out some reviews (that make me blush) here.

I wanted to update you on my Year of Making.... I've been enjoying this project, I have to admit to not posting photos daily, though I am making something everyday.... this is for two reasons:
1) I dislike posting "bad" photos and often times I take them late at night and just can't bring myself to share them. 
2) I'm working on a fair number of secrets right now so though I am busy creating I'm not free to post my progress.
The unbeaded shawl version of Magpie turned out better than I hoped.  It's off with a tester now, and then just needs a tech edit to be ready to release... what do you think?
I'm also deep into designing the shawl for The Tinsmith's Wife retreat at the Haven River Inn, it's going to be great fun to teach at the retreat... and no worries, after I get back from the retreat I'll be releasing it to the public as well!

Speaking of retreats....  are you needing a quick getaway?  I just heard there are still spots open at The Yarn Cupboard Retreat in Syracuse, NY at the end of the month.... a whole crew from my Ravelry group is attending, and there are GREAT teachers.  I wish I could skip my afternoon class and take the basket workshop!  It looks awesome!

And finally, amongst all of that I am getting ready for TNNA (booth #271) and I'll be releasing a new kit for Stereo Cuff!  Theses kits made their first appearance at Vogue Knitting in Seattle and they told me they can't wait to go public! 

I think since my kits are starting to talk to me (see above) it's time for me to wrap up this post and get back to work!  Or maybe it's time to take a break.....


Design Your Own Cowl with me on Craftsy!

Guess what posted this morning?  My newest class with Craftsy, Design Your Own Cowl.
Cowl’s are the perfect shape to play with when starting to design. In my class, you'll use an interactive design worksheet, any of twelve step-by-step templates and lots of valuable techniques to bring your own cowl concepts to life. If you want to read more in depth about the class, check out the blog post I wrote last week!

There are also 3 cowl patterns included in the class for those of you who LOVE cowls, but do not want to design them! Lapso, Ojo, and Red are designed to teach you about the anatomy and versatility of cowls... and how to use the templates in class.
Ojo Cowl
Ojo Cowl begins with a provisional cast on, is worked flat and then joined into the round with a twist to create a "fauxbius", a super simple large eyelet stitch with a latticed border on each edge to keep things interesting.  I used Cascade Eco wool on big needles... so fun to "blow up" a lace stitch and create a bulkier cowl! 

Lapso Cowl

Lapso Cowl is a true mobius, worked in the round from the center out.  I played with a reversible slipped stitch pattern... a great way to let two colors party together ! I knit two version of Lapso, one with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport, so you could see it shine in a fun hand-dye, and another more subtle version in Blue Sky Alpaca's drapey sportweight alpaca!


RED is a more diminutive cowl worked in the round with a modified feather and fan stitch at the bottom border.  A garter stitch strip is worked every 7 rounds as the cowl is knit.  A one skein, sport weight cowl, this design highlights a special yarn and flies off the needles.

So, which is your favorite?  I've been wearing Ojo alot, but ended up knitting two Lapso's as I might be addicted to Cat Bordhi's mobius cast on!  I've posted all the cowl's on Ravelry if you want to see more photos.  All 3 patterns are only available in my Craftsy class until April 2015 when I will release them individually!

Use this link to get the class for 25% off! Feel free to share it with your friends, the more of us creating cowls together the better!

I so look forward to sharing the design you all create in this class!  In fact, I taught a version of this class live last month at Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle... and one of my students already has her new cowl design almost done.... I can't wait to see what comes off your needles!

I want to wrap this up by sending a HUGE boatload of gratitude to Kate Atherley and the team at Craftsy.  Kate spent hours and hours with me helping to design the functionality of the templates, and then make sure my math worked!  I'm not sure I can even communicate the amount of energy and caffeinated brain power she and I put into the course materials in this class.  Thankyou Kate.... I still owe you coffee!


Fixing Beading Mistakes!

I've been wanting to write this post for a long time... each time there is a KAL with beading techniques in my Ravelry group I go over these common fixes for problems that might come up when knitting with beads, and I realized it would be great to list them as a permanent resource for you all!

Prestrung or placed a bead incorrectly- Easy... just crush it!
Insert a sewing needle into the center of the bead and then over a damp paper towel, and with glasses on, crush the bead with the tip of a pair of pliers.  Just be sure that your working yarn is far away from the wire cutter at the base of the pliers (ask me how I know this...).

Prestrung too few beads-
You can just "skip" a bead, leaving a unbeaded stitch, or cut your yarn and add another. 
If you skip working this bead (what I would do) you can always afterthought stitch in the bead with a piece of coordinating sewing thread.  Easy to do, and no will will be able to tell it wasn't there all along!

Running into a knot in your yarn (OR really messing up the pre-stringing directions)

If you are working with beads that are prestrung in a specific pattern:
You need to cut the thread after you transfer the beads onto it and string them back onto the yarn with that end so they end up in the correct order

Misplaced or Migrating Beads
If a bead ends up on the wrong side of a stitch or yarn over, you don’t need to rip back. Just wait until you are a few rows beyond the mistake and massage it back into place.
A HUGE NOTE: As with any mistake, this easiest solution is to let sleeping dogs lie.... nothing is perfect (except Buddha) and perhaps the easiest was to not offend the gods is to leave your mistake as is and just keep knitting.  At the end of the day you are not going to be able to see one misplaced or missing bead from a galloping horse!

Did I miss anything you are wondering about?  Please post a question below and I'll add the answer to this post.  Or do you have any favorite tricks to share?  I'd love to hear them!