5.21.2018

Travel Beading Kit!

In April I launched a new product... and it sold out in hours! I've restocked in a BIG way as I've been getting awesome feedback on my Travel Beading Kit!
Two sizes of "micro" hooks for placing beads and a dental floss threader for stringing beads are packaged in the world's cutest tin. Perfect for beading on the go!

I put this kit through it's paces on my latest trip to Ireland:
From ferries:
To picnics in Connemara:
 
And drinks in a castle:
This beading tin travels well!

You might need to get a few so you can have them in more than one project bag.... : )!

xoxoxo



4.02.2018

The Winderfull... my new tool (toy!)

This is something you probably haven’t seen before…. it is WINDERFULL! I ran into these at the LYS near my parents in Florida, Knitter’s Nook … I was totally skeptical but am officially a convert! (and I LOVE that I have an LYS when I go to visit them!)
The Winderfull is an amazing yarn wrangling contraption! I had one with me in Nicaragua and it kept my beads and yarn totally tamed! I have to say that every knitting event I have gone to when I pull this out we "need" to talk about how cool it is!
This very simple video I shot with my girl shows you how easy it is to use (and how fun, there is nothing like playing with a drill!).

I don't think you need the Winderfull for every project but here are a few instances I think it would be super helpful in:
Working with large numbers of pre-strung beads (which I seem to do alot of the time):
You can wind your beads around the winderfull, it really helps with tangles and bead management... if you have every experienced your beads "sliding" down your yarn ball once you have wound them, making a hot mess you'll know what I am talking about!

Working with a Single Ply or other "delicate" yarn:
The design of the Winderfull protects your yarn, so if you are working with something fragile that you don't want to get extra wear and tear from abrasion in your knitting bag, the construction of the Winderfull protects your yarn!

Traveling:
The Winderfull keeps your yarn incredibly well-behaved, so if you tend to end up with yarn barf while you travel, you may want to check this out!

Colorwork: If you wind your colors onto separate spools it is SUPER easy to keep them from getting tangled!

Here’s a link if you want to read and learn more about the Winderfull: https://knittersnookflorida.com/products?olsPage=products...

Thankyou Deb, Beau and Anne! It goes without saying, the Winderfull is Wonderfull!
(This is another example of a blog post where every sentence ends in an !  Clearly I feel good about the Winderfull!)

3.29.2018

Knit Scotland! (w/ a wee dram)

October 15th - 25th, 2018

This trip is full... please sign up for my mailing list if you want to hear about future trips with me!

Time for our next knitting adventure! This time let's explore Scotland together.... we start and end in Edinburgh. A SUPER big treat is that I've timed the trip to be in Inverness for Loch Ness Knit Fest!

Day 1: Arrive in Edinburgh and enjoy a scenic tour of the city on our coach. We will be stopping for a yummy lunch and then touring a bit more before checking into our hotel to rest up before our welcome dinner.

Day 2: We'll start our day with Scottish breakfast and then have a fabulous knitting workshop with Emily from Tin Can Knits on her modern Strange Brew pattern, I can't wait to meet Emily and learn about color work from her! We'll have lunch on our own and then gather to tour the Edinburgh Castle. The rest of the day is yours... explore Edinburgh an absolutely gorgeous city to wander (I will give a list of "ideas" of things to check out!)
Day 3: After a big group breakfast we will head out to Fife to have a workshop with Di Gilpin. We'll learn about the history of Gansey knitting in Scotland and look at samples of both traditional pieces and the more contemporary designs from her studio.Then we'll learn some traditional gansey stitches by working on blanket squares in her yarn. After that we'll take our appetites to a cafe that specializes in cheese making (YUM CHEESE!) for lunch, and then head to Claddach Farm to learn about specialist, pedigree and rare-breed animals, including various commercial sheep breeds; Cheviot, Texel and Bluefaced Leicester. Then it is onto our next hotel just outside of Perth where we will settle in and have a group dinner together.
Day 4: Oh, this is going to be a fun day! Another yummy Breakfast in the morning, followed by a visit and tour to Scone Palace. This was once the crowning place of  Scottish Kings and it is steeped in history. After some free time for lunch we will head to Askival of Strathearn for a kilt making demonstration. I am super excited to do a deep dive into the history of kilts, styles of kilts, and the different techniques used to make them. We'll have dinner on our own tonight, either at the hotel or in Perth!

Day 5: First breakfast, then we leave Perth and make our way to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.... driving through the picturesque town of Pitlochry, our first stop is Edradour Distillery for a tour and tasting. Wee dram before lunch anyone? Then we'll head to Knockando Woolmill for an intimate look at Scotland's oldest working mill. Afterwards we'll go to Inverness and our hotel. Some may choose to drop their bags and head to the Ceilidh (traditional Scottish event with music and dance) at Loch Ness Knit Fest while others can relax at the hotel and enjoy dinner in Inverness.
Day 6:  Enjoy breakfast and then this day has two options... you can go to Loch Ness Knit Fest all day (and optionally sign up for classes when they release mid-March), or you can take our tour bus to the Highland Folk Museum... this is one day I need a time turner as I want to do both! The evening will see us all together at the Highland Feast organized by the Knit Fest.
Day 7: After breakfast (sense a theme here?) we will pack up and travel towards the Isle of Skye, after stopping at Loch Ness to take in the views (and obviously see a Loch creature). We'll be spending the majority of the day in Plockton, a lovely little town at the gateway of Skye (yes, it has palm trees... we'll talk about that). In Pockton we'll study Fair Isle with Sarah Berry and naturally dyed yarn. We'll eat a traditional fish soup (don't worry, there is another choice if this isn't your favorite) for lunch. Then we'll jump back in our bus and head to Skye for the evening.
Day 8: First, breakfast (again?) and then we adventure through the Isle of Skye we'll see the Trotternish ridge with its spectacular cliffs and rock formations, including Kilt Rock, the mountain pass of the Quiraing and of course the famous Old Man of Storr.  Then we go to Shilasdair Yarn Company which specializes in naturally dyed yarn. We'll get a yarn dyeing demonstration and then enjoy their cafe (which specializes in PIE!!!). Afterwards we'll travel to Island on the Edge, a working fiber farm, to meet their sheep and learn about the challenges of crofting on the west side of the island.

Day 9: Today we have an early breakfast and then take the ferry from Skye to the mainland which means we get to take the STUNNING 'road of the isles'. We'll stop at Glenfinnan and Glencoe. This is a seriously breathtaking drive, so don't expect to get a lot of knitting done on the bus this day! We'll arrive in Oban in time for a tasting and tour at the Oban Whisky Distillery (we'll need it after a day on the bus). Then we'll check into our hotel and enjoy dinner together!

Day 10: So, we'll have a great breakfast and then enjoy our last full day together. We have a treat at the Auchindrain Township, which simulates what life was once like in the Scottish Highlands. We will participate in a 'Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh’ which translates to the ‘Inverclyde Waulking Group'. Waulking is a method of finishing newly woven tweed by soaking and thumping it steadily to shrink and soften it. The group sings Waulking Songs as they work! Wait until you hear me sing, you'll be glad the trip is almost over! Afterwards we'll head to Inverary for lunch and a walk about town and then onto the shores of Loch Lomond to take in it's gorgeous views. We'll end the day back in Edinburgh and join together for a scrumptious farewell dinner.

Day 11: LAST BREAKFAST, and then it is time to head to the airport for our journey's home... (insert sad face here).

The Tour includes :
  •  Transfers on arrival and departure by private coach (for arrivals prior to 11am)
  •  Sightseeing as per itinerary in a luxury coach with an experienced driver and, accredited guide and Laura Nelkin, knitting designer and teacher, entrance fees included if applicable.
  • Accommodation in rooms with private facilities for 10 nights
  • Scottish breakfast daily
  • 8 hotel table d’hote dinners
  • 1 Afternoon tea, 5 lunches
  • 1 Highland Feast in Inverness
  • 1 Farewell Meal in Edinburgh
  • Entrance to the following attractions: Edinburgh Castle, Scone Palace, The Highland Folk Museum or Loch Ness Knit Fest, Glenfinnan Monument and Museum, Auchindrain Township.
  • Kilt making demonstration at Askival of Strathearn
  • Knockando Woolmill guided tour
  • Tour of Oban Whisky Distillery with a Whisky tasting
  • Tour of Edradour Distillery with Whisky tasting
  • Visit to see the sheep and alpacas at Claddach Farm
  • Tour the Isle of Skye
  • Visit Island on the Edge a working fiber farm

Workshops/Knitting Activities Included in This Tour:
  • Tin Can Knit’s ‘Strange Brew’ workshop (Fair Isle techniques covered)
  • Gansey Knitting Workshop with Di Gilpin
  • Fair Isle knitting with naturally-dyed yarn with Sarah Berry
  • The option of booking additional workshops at the Loch Ness Knit Fest
  • Shilasdair Yarn Dyeing Demonstration
Price
€3449 (Approx. $4277) per person sharing a twin or double room
€699 (Approx. $867) supplement applies if a single room is required
To secure your place a deposit of 20% of the total cost is required.
The balance is payable 60 days before departure.
VERY Detailed Itinerary and sign up form available, e-mail Laura for more details!

3.21.2018

Knit Ithaca November 9 - 12th, 2018

Who wants to come on a knitting retreat with me and Mary Jane Mucklestone in my hometown of Ithaca, NY?

2nd ANNUAL KNIT ITHACA!!!
with Mary Jane Mucklestone and Laura Nelkin!

November 9th-12th, 2018
(with optional extension to Corning Museum of Glass)

Sign Ups Open 3/28 at 12pm EST

I’ve planned an extra special intimate weekend with lots of time to expand our knitting knowledge, explore the Finger Lakes Region, eat great food, taste our local wines and spirits, and knit together! We’ll be based at the Marriott, right at the base of The Commons in Ithaca, NY. This means there are a plethora of amazing restaurants, shopping, coffee, used book stores, craft galleries, bars AND BEST YET? A yarn store right across the street!

On Saturday Mary Jane and I will each be teaching a class, and on Sunday we'll be heading out on a Taste of Seneca Lake Tour.

Go here to read more and download a comprehensive brochure with the full schedule.

Let me know if you have questions! I'm happy to clarify!!!!

I've set up a thread in our Ravelry group if you want to chat it up with other attendee's and/or find a roommate! 


3.02.2018

Book Reviews: March's 1st Quarter KAL Prizes!

Ready to see March's 1st Quarter KAL Prizes? I decided to switch things up a bit and share some of my favorite books with you this month (instead of yarn!).

Did you know I have a book addiction? I read A LOT, novels I read on my e-reader, but when it comes to knitting (and cook) books, I like those hard copy! On any given day my office, studio and kitchen are scattered with books... in fact yesterday I found my elderly dog, Noche, using one as a pillow, silly 'ol girl!

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book by Vogue Magazine
Published February 2018 by Sixth & Spring Books

This encyclopedia is a masterpiece, it deserves a spot on every knitter's shelf, right next to Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt and  The Knitter's Handbook by Montse Stanley. It is so chock full of information I'm not sure I can touch on it all in one paragraph, but I will say that I was consulted with on the bead section, which is an honor! It touches on a huge variety of topics.... I was delighted to find the shaping rule for Faroese Shawl Construction in it (something one of my Craftsy students asked me about the other day in class.)
Alter Knit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel
Published Fall 2017 by Interweave Press

Oh, this book is a joy... if you are intrigued by color work, design, or stitch dictionaries, you really need to check it out! After going to Shetland with Andrea last summer I've been dreaming of designing a color work piece or two and I know I'll be consulting this book both for the technique section which is in depth, and the stitches! Before I design something I need to explore more about color dominance and steeking, and this book delves into those topics (and tons more!). If you aren't a designer, but want to knit some color work the 5 projects included are modern and wearable. Promise me you'll check out this book!
Dimensional Tuck Knitting by Tracy Purtscher
Published September 2017 by Sixth & Spring Books

Sometimes I come across a photo and am utterly intrigued... that's what happened with this book. I saw it at a vendor's booth last fall (maybe at Rhinebeck?) and it came home with me. The techniques used to create this fabric which looks like a cross of weaving and knitting with a smattering of cables that aren't cables has me fascinated to no end. I think you'll be as in love with it as I am!
Curls by Hunter Hammersen
Published November 2014 by Pantsville Press

The self published booklet has become a classic. Hunter's innovative writing style creates a gorgeous and accessible approach to curl shawl shaping. I wrote a blog post about it a few years back... so I suggest reading that if you want to learn more!

In case you don't know about my 1st Quarter KAL in my Ravelry group, I've run them for the last few years the first 3 months of the year... there are weekly prizes for participating, and grand prizes for reaching goals! As of writing there are 296 projects completed, and 154 of my designs being knit... pretty amazing, right? Please come join us... it is easy to participate and it is SO fun to see what you are knitting!!!!

2.27.2018

How to Cable Cast on with Laura Nelkin

Working a cable cast on is easy... and here are a few tricks to help you make sure you have success!!!


As you can see from the video the cable cast on is VERY similar to the knitted-on (or lace) cast on, the only difference is that you are working it in between the your stitches, not into the last st. A cable cast on gives a bit more of a firm edge. I have been using it as the cast on for the panels in my Novus sweaters.... it works perfectly for that application as you want the bottom edge of those panels to have a bit of structure.

I have many more tutorials and add them as I have patterns that need a new technique taught! Is there anything (knitting releated) you would like me to cover in a video? I'm happy to oblige!

2.22.2018

Always room for improvement!

Last month I was working with my smart smart tech editor Kate Atherley on a new summer sweater that uses the Novus construction. She asked why the schematic didn't have a measurement from the shoulder to the hem, and I was like, I don't know? It should! That is a super helpful measurement to have!
 This is Caragh, not the sweater Kate and I were working on, the black line indicates the measurement that was missing!

In the Novus Construction, the length from the shoulder to the hem (E) is just the side length (C) plus half the sleeve width (F). If you understand the construction you could figure that out on your own... but why should you when I can just plug it in!
Why is this helpful?
Let's say you have "girls"... you girls are going to pull up the fabric from the top part of the side seam and the armhole depth (half the sleeve width) making the sweater shorter. So, just determining length from the side seam isn't going to tell you how the sweater length is going to fit YOU. If you also measure from the shoulder you can take these two measurements and adjust for your body so the sweater is long enough!
You can really see an example of that in this photo... we are all wearing Caragh, and you can see that the sweater is shorter on Vicki, Helene and Demerse. If they wanted to  adjust for that in a future Caragh, they can add a bit more length to the side seam and the sleeve width after casting on for the front and back (the sleeves don't need more width).

Or, what if you want a deeper than "average" armhole? You can adjust for that with the width of the sleeve, but having that measurement in the pattern is going to make the adjustment easier to make!

So....
I am sending out updates for Pacificus, Vindur, Gola, and Caragh that include this measurement... fitting these 4 pullovers to your body will be even easier now that a new measurement has been added to the schematic!

Please feel free to ask questions, either in this blog post, or in my Ravelry group, I'm happy to help you make sure the modifications you are making work for you!

And in case you didn't know...
It is Sweater Month in the 1st Quarter KAL in my Ravelry group which means between now and Feb 28th at 12p, EST ALL my sweater patterns are BOGO! Don't miss out, I don't have pattern sales often!!!

Oh, and because a few of you might be wondering? That super secret sweater I mentioned at the top of the post? It is a collaboration with another company and should be out the first week of March!

2.20.2018

Nicaragua... an emergency get-a-way!

A few weeks ago we freaked out and decided we needed to go warm up down south... and then the girl signed up for a month long TEFL program in Nicaragua and we figured we should take her!

Since I got asked a lot about where we went on this excursion I thought a photo heavy blog post was in order. A little background about this trip, my husband and I traveled to Costa Rica alot in our 20's, it was our "thing".... I was learning Spanish and fell in love with everything about the country. We went back in 2010 for a family vacation and were a little overwhelmed by how touristy it had gotten... ZIP LINES EVERYWHERE. Not that it isn't a fabulous country to visit, but it wasn't what I had fallen in love with anymore. I've been hearing that Nicaragua is a lot like Costa Rica used to be, super friendly people, easy to get around, not super expensive, and a very similar topography (they are right next to each other!). One thing I loved is that not a lot of the locals speak English so I got to practice my horrific Spanish... by the end of the trip we were actually having some real conversations, not just the necessary travel talk.

Here's our days in photos:
Day 1:
Laguna de Apoyo
A pristine, blue, and thermally vented lagoon contained inside the crater of the Apoyo Volcano... we stayed right on the shore, this was the PERFECT way to start our adventure! Inner tubes, kayaks, rum drinks and knitting... (in that order!)
A view of the entire lagoon
A spiky tropical tree that begged you to just try and hug it!
Day 2:
Volcano Masaya

Oh, we just drove up and looked INSIDE the crater of an ACTIVE VOLCANO. Literally... you are only allowed to be at the crater for 5 minutes as it is spewing nasty gases, and frankly 5 minutes was all I needed... pretty amazing.  
Here's a statue we loved at the side of a shed in a town along the way that day,
I don't know anything else about it... sorry!

Day 3:
Granada


Days 4 and 5:
Zopango Island
(this was our treat, who doesn't want to stay on a private island in Lake Nicaragua?)
Can you spy the great blue heron in this photo?


The island was all about birds, hammocks, swimming, hammocks, yummy tropical food, hammocks, mosquitos, hammocks... it is amazing I got any knitting done at all, those hammocks kept me super busy! (Also, they made me want to try macrame again!)

Day 6 until home:
Las Penitas just west of Leon
(we landed here for 4 nights... nothing like really getting into a Pacific beach town, right)
I will go out on a limb and say that this town made us feel a wee bit middle aged, I'm glad we weren't there on weekend nights as the disco went until 2am on Wed eve (our last night there) and I was a little bit grumpy in the morning. I think I like my beach towns a little less "entertaining" : )! The girl, though, is there for a month and she'll certainly have fun when she isn't in class!
Birding in the mangroves along Juan Venado Island Natural Reserve (this photo was taken before the great mosquito attack)
Little Blue Heron
Yellow Crowned Night Heron (or Martinet?)
Boat Billed Heron (or Spoon Billed? I am not a "good" birder!)
Gliding down the river with a flock of herons at the prow!
Obviously, a dyer is going to be getting this photo for a future yarn : )!
One thing I don't have any photos of (they weren't allowed) was our trip to the Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian which we read had the best collection of contemporary art in Latin America. WOW... totally blown away by the pieces in this museum. It went on for 5 buildings, there work from artists I had heard of before, and also many I had never seen. I really fell for some of the pieces by Nicaraguan artists, particularly the pottery. I wish I had taken out my notebook and written down names, but there was something so freeing about just experiencing the museum in the moment and not recording it for the future... do you know what I mean? Clearly, I need to go back, which isn't a bad thing! But I did get a photo for you of our Tostones con Queso (fried green plantains)... we ate these with ceviche almost every day.... ME GUSTA!
I did get a ton of knitting done on this trip too, including another Baby Novus for my cousin who is due any day!
The pattern is almost done being tested and is off to the copy editor now... can't wait to share this little cutie with you! Hopefully next week!

We planned this trip in 10 days... and I already know where I want to go in Nicaragua when we freak out next winter....

1.25.2018

Knit Shawls 14 Ways: Exploring Shape and Design

Have you heard about my new Craftsy Class, Knit Shawls 14 Ways: Exploring Shape and Design ?

http://www.nelkindesigns.com/craftsy_shawlshapes

This class was an absolute joy to work on! I do a deep dive into how increases and decreases form a variety of shawl shapes! Starting with 4 basic shapes (Squares, Circles, Crescents and Triangles) I show you how to create multitude of shawls. The class contains an extensive handout that contains powerful formulas that will help you understand the fundamentals needed to construct shawls completely from scratch. These are the tools I started with when I first learned to design, and you’ll see that once you grasp them, the sky is the limit!

The handout provided in the class has four distinct shawl shapes. I explain the concept, provide a formula for that shape, show an example using that formula, and finally give you a pattern for making that shape shawl. You’ll see that the patterns are written in a very generic style; you’ll decide what stitch pattern and increases or decreases you’ll be using.

While designing the class we realized that a really cool way to show you how the shapes are created would be to take a color shifting (sometimes called gradient) yarn and use the same yarn in a few different geometries....

So here is Cloudborn Alpaca Sport Color Change in Bird's Nest shown in 3 different shapes:

All three of these shawls start with the lightest color and work towards the darkest... I used the templates for the center out square, bottom up triangle, and basic boomerang.

I ended up LOVING the boomerang version, and wore it for a bunch of the class filming, it is SUPER easy to wear!
I keep getting asked about it, so I've decided to publish the pattern for those that are interested! It is probably the simplest pattern I have ever written : )!

Basic Boomerang demonstrates how easy it is to take the concepts in my class and make a wearable shawl! I've written it up so you can use any yarn at any gauge and work your shawl until you are happy with its size! Plus this is a great shawl for a brand new knitter... so if you have one in your life tell them about it!



A pile of links for you:

Download BASIC BOOMERANG!
Cloudborn Alpaca Sport Color Change (if you want to make a shawl similar to mine)
Knit Shawls 14 Ways: Exploring Shape and Design
All of my other Craftsy classes

1.18.2018

Video Tutorial: Garter Kitchener Stitch

I have a few patterns that use Kitchener Stitch on Garter Stitch fabric (knit every row) and it was time to make a video for you! Years ago I made an easy tutorial on Kitchener Stitch on Stockinette Stitch fabric, as you watch this you'll see the only difference is that in Garter Kitchener you are doing the same thing on both the front and back needles! Super easy!



Here are a few of my patterns that use this technique:
http://www.nelkindesigns.com/medio

As promised in the video here is the secret for Garter Lurra!
When working Garter Lurra you'll notice that the first two stitches are in Stockinette Stitch as you are slipping them on WS rows to create an I-Cord Edging. Those two stitches are worked with "regular" Kitchener and then you switch over to Garter Kitchener for the remain:
First Set Up like this:
1.  Go into 1st st on FRONT needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.2.  Go into 1st st on BACK needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.
Start GRAFTING
like this:
1.  Go into 1st st on FRONT needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and drop st OFF needle.
2.  Go into next st on FRONT needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.
3.  Go into 1st st on BACK needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and drop st OFF needle.
4.  Go into next st on BACK needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle. 
Repeat Steps 1-4 once more.
Then Graft for Garter Kitchener like this:
1.  Go into 1st st on FRONT needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and drop st OFF needle.
2.  Go into next st on FRONT needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.
3.  Go into 1st st on BACK needle as if to KNIT, pull yarn up and drop st OFF needle.
4.  Go into next st on BACK needle as if to PURL, pull yarn up and leave st ON needle.
Repeat Steps 1-4 until all your stitches are grafted together!