Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gift-A-Long 2015

Despite massive denial on my part, the holidays are quickly approaching.  One of the things I love most about the holidays is giving handmade gifts.  This year, I'm joining in with over 300 designers in the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long.

There are a few really great things about the Gift-A-Long.  Over 5,000 designs on Ravelry are discounted 25% from now through Saturday, November 28th.  Use coupon code giftalong2015 to get the discount on any of these patterns in the Gift-A-Long sale bundle on Ravelry.  To shop my patterns, visit my Ravelry store.

If browsing through 106 pages of patterns is too much for you (and it probably is even for the most die hard of knitters), you can look through the Gift-A-Long Pinterest Boards.  There, you can look at just one category of patterns at a time.

Once you've chosen a pattern, head on over to the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long group and join in.  You can post your works in progress, chat with other knitters, and find lots of beautiful patterns that you maybe hadn't seen before.  And one of the perks:  lots of great prizes including coupon codes for free patterns.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mornings in Paris Knit-a-long (KAL)

The Mornings in Parks KAL starts tomorrow in my Ravelry group.   The KAL is for anyone who wishes to knit the Mornings in Paris shawl, in either size, in any yarn.

Yarn Choice
You may use any yarn of your choice to participate in the KAL. The shawl was designed with Blue Moon Fiber Arts’ Yaksi Fingering, however, so see the note below.
You must use Blue Moon Fiber Arts’ Yaksi Fingering to be eligible to win the grand prize. If you wish to order Yaksi from BMFA, please allow two weeks for delivery from the time that you purchase your yarn from them. BMFA is generously offering 10% off your yarn order of up two 2 skeins of Yaksi Fingering, good from May 26th through June 26th, 2015. This discount is available only to those who have purchased the Mornings in Paris pattern. Please private message me for your coupon code once you have purchased the pattern.

The KAL starts on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, and wraps up on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 (end of day).

::Prize 1:: All works in progress (with photo) within the timeframe of the KAL will receive one free pattern from my Ravelry store.
::Prize 2 (two winners):: The first FO and the FO with the best photography (my choice) will receive three free patterns from my Ravelry store.
::GRAND PRIZE (one winner):: If you use BMFA’s Yaksi Fingering and post a FO photo by the deadline, you will be eligible to win one skein of Yaksi Fingering, in the color of your choice, provided by me. And, you will win three free patterns from my Ravelry store. I will randomly choose one winner from those who meet the criteria.

  • You can cast on at any time before the KAL officially starts and still be eligible for prizes. I’m starting the KAL on June 10th to give participants the time to find the perfect yarn.
  • To be eligible for Prize 1, you must create a project page, linked to the Mornings in Paris pattern, and tag your project morningsinparisKAL. You must post an in progress photo on your project page.
  • To be eligible for Prize 2 and the Grand Prize, you must create a project page with a photo of the finished shawl, linked to the Mornings in Paris pattern, and tag your project morningsinparisKAL. You must also post a photo to the Mornings in Paris FO thread by 7/8. The grand prize is limited to US residents.
Prize winners will be announced by Friday, July 10.

I would love to share your photos on my Facebook page and/or blog. If you do not want your photos shared, please send me a private message. Thank you.

Have fun and I hope you can join us!

new pattern: mornings in paris

This pattern is dedicated to my good friend Liz and our knitting group.  I was lucky to meet Liz 6 years ago.  She was knitting a pair of socks at the playground while our kids were playing.  I asked her what she was working on, we figured out that two of our children would be going to preschool together, and that was it.  She's been a great knitting friend and a great friend. 

Once preschool started, we learned that one of the preschool teachers knit.  And her mom knit.  And Liz's friend knit.  And Liz's friend's friend knit.  Soon we had a group that met on Thursdays, either at someone's house or at a coffee shop.  One of those coffee shops was Mornings in Paris.  Pretty soon, I felt like I had expanded my group of friends, the people to whom I felt most close.

Last year, I found out I was moving away.  Liz stopped by my house with a skein of yarn and a bottle of wine.  I was still so surprised that we were moving that I didn't really know what to say.  But I deeply appreciated the gesture.

This winter, after finally settling into our new house and getting through the holiday, I started knitting again.  I picked up the skein of yarn Liz gave me and tried to come up with something that would remind me of her and our knitting group.  I found a stitch pattern called "Eiffel Tower" by Barbara Walker.  I turned the stitch upside down and played with the spacing and size of the repeats.  The Mornings in Paris Shawl was born.

Pattern Info
The shawl begins with a garter tab and construction is top-down. Increases are worked at the edges and center on the right side. This pattern is charted only.

Blocked measurements Small (Large) :: 42 (55)” / 101.5 (139.75) cm across top by 16 (28)” / 40.75 (71) cm deep

1 (2) skeins Blue Moon Fiber Arts; 390 yds / 356 m per 3.38 oz / 96 g skein; 60% wool / 20% yak / 20% cultivated silk
Smaller sample in Help Us Rhonda. Larger sample in The New Color of Love.

Needles & Notions
Size 5 US / 3.75 mm 40” / 102 cm circular needles
2 stitch markers, tapestry needle, blocking pins

19 sts and 30 rows = 4” / 10 cm in pattern stitch from Charts A and B using Size 5 US / 4.5 mm needles, after blocking
Gauge is not critical for this pattern, but it is important if you want to make the smaller shawl from 1 skein and the larger shawl from 2 skeins.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The New Color of Love

I'm working on a new design with generous yarn support from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.  One of the colors they sent me:  The New Color of Love.  Two weeks ago when I got the yarn, I didn't think much of the name.  (I did fall in love with the yarn and I promise to write more about this gorgeous yarn in another post.)
But it hit me today.  It was a long, cold, snowy winter.  Our snow has finally melted.  There's still snow in some corners of our yard, but most of it's gone.  For months, the landscape was white, then dirty white, then brown.
I have spent the last two days outside, reveling in the sunshine and warm temperatures.  And a quick walk around our yard showed me why green is the new color of love.

I feel like I can breathe again.  This is our first spring in our new house, so there were lots of surprises.  A stream and small waterfall that we can hear from the deck, hyacinths, bulbs coming up where we didn't expect them.
I'll be writing more about the new design soon and hosting a knit a long next month.  I hope you'll join us!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lotus Shawl

 I'm excited to be finally publishing the Lotus Shawl.  I knit this shawl with very generous yarn support from Knitpicks and it is part of their IDP.  Their Shadow lace weight yarn is 100% wool and has a beautiful drape and halo.

I swatched this lace pattern several times before deciding on the right needles and yarn weight.  The lace stitch isn't particularly difficult, but it is worked on both right and wrong side rows, so it involves  some concentration.  I knew I didn't want to have to concentrate that much during the whole shawl, so I cast on and worked in stockinette stitch and garter stitch for most of it.  The garter stitch picks up nicely on the garter ridges found in the lace.  I finished the shawl with two full tiers of the lace and think it's just enough to satisfy my need for a challenge and provide the detail I wanted.

Agnieszka's Test Knit
Working with this stitch solidified for me how much I love working from charts.  Charts terrified me at first, but I learned to read them by writing them myself.  Anytime I swatched a new lace pattern, I charted it first and, in doing that, I learned how the stitches should align and how to read my knitting.   That process has made knitting lace much less daunting and really enjoyable for me.

Details on the shawl are below.  The pattern is charted but also includes written row by row instructions for those who prefer that.  It's light and airy, warm but not cumbersome.  It's a great transitional piece as we head into spring (or even fall).

Andrea's Test Knit

Blocked measurements :: 68” / 172.5 cm across by 32” / 81.5 cm deep
Preblocked measurements :: 52” / 132 cm across by 24.5” / 62 cm deep

2 skeins Knitpicks Shadow Tonal in Goldrush; 440 yds / 402 m per 1.7 oz / 50 g skein; 100% merino wool
Note about yarn choice: Shadow Tonal has been discontinued, but Knitpicks still carries Shadow. Shadow is a lace/light fingering weight yarn. A fingering yarn may be used also, although you may want to go up a needle size or two. This sample took approximately 800 yards of yarn.

Needles & Notions
Size 7 US / 4.5 mm 40” / 102 cm circular needles
2 stitch markers
tapestry needle
blocking pins

17 sts and 30 rows = 4” / 10 cm in stockinette stitch using Size 7 US / 4.5 mm needles, after blocking
Gauge is not critical for this pattern.

Thank you to my tech editor, Katherine Vaughn, and to my test knitters Andrea, Tina, Agnieszka, and Merrilie.


Monday, March 16, 2015

help (please) and pattern giveaway

I'm releasing my newest pattern, the Lotus Shawl, this Friday.  It's a triangular shawl knit in a lace/light fingering weight yarn, and it drapes beautifully and feels light and airy.  A perfect project for spring.

I need your help choosing a cover photo for the shawl.  Reply to this blog post with your favorite picture and I'll enter you to win a free copy of the pattern.  Winners will be announced on Thursday evening, so get your vote in by 5pm EST Thursday.  For a second chance to win, visit me on Facebook and leave your vote there too.

Thanks for your help and good luck!








Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I despise making gauge swatches.  I would rather make a guess and, guessing wrong, have to give whatever I've made away than make a gauge swatch.  I've given a sweater away for that very reason, but at least I had the experience of knitting the sweater, which I guess is what I really wanted.

But making swatches to explore stitch patterns, textures, and motifs, or how two stitch patterns work together:  that I love.  I love comparing how stitches look different in different yarns and with different needles.  I even love charting the stitch patterns on graph paper and making small tweaks to see how the pattern changes overall.   I sit on the couch and surround myself with stitch dictionaries and graph paper, pencils, erasers, a red pen, lots of needles, and whatever scraps of yarn I have laying around.  I've spent the entire last week doing just that.  I've had plenty of failures, but I don't mind those at all.  Even the failures teach me something.

The past three weeks have been incredibly snowy and cold.  The only way I can see to happily get through these weeks is wool and bamboo needles in front of the wood stove.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Catching Up

It looks as though I've taken an almost 2 year, unexpected break from my blog. Between volunteering at my kids' schools, and moving to a neighboring state, blogging fell to the wayside.

I have been knitting and designing in the meantime, so I'll try to catch you up quickly.

My pattern Agamenticus was chosen as the cover for Knitpicks' Under 100 Collection last winter! Mount Agamenticus is located in Southern Maine and is visible from the beaches at which I spent most summer days. The beach became a fixture in my life for the seven years we lived in Maine and it's something I miss quite a bit, even in the winter.

This Fall, I released my Radiate Hat pattern to complement the Radiate Cowl. I love this pattern because I wanted to work with stripes and I like the effect the slipped stitches make.  The patterns also have the added bonus of requiring very little yarn, so they are good for using up leftovers in your stash.

And just last week, I released my Snowshoe Hat pattern. I designed this pattern with two things in mind:  I wanted to work a cable (but not too much), and I wanted a pop of color in the middle of winter.  So this pattern features just one cable repeat -- the rest of the hat is worked in stockinette stitch -- and I chose Malabrigo Chunky for its gorgeous, saturated colors.

We've got lots of snow here, and lots more still falling, so I've sworn off winter knitting in the hopes that warmer weather will soon be here.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blooming Cowl

About two weeks before Christmas, I found myself shopping for gloves and scarves at the Bloomingdales outlet.  I came upon the most beautiful, brightly colored, soft, drape-y cowl.  My first thought was, "I could make this."  I think every knitter has that same thought when they find something knitted in a store?  My second was, "But not in time for Christmas."  So I bought the cowl and gave it as a (hopefully) much loved present.

When I got home, I wanted to replicate the cowl and I wanted to make my daughter's teacher a special gift for Christmas.  When we moved, my oldest daughter started at a new school almost three times bigger than her last.  I was nervous for her, but her teacher has been amazing.  I didn't get the cowl done in time for Christmas, but thankfully her birthday was in early January.

I opened my yarn drawer -- I'm trying to limit myself to three separate places in the house where I store my yarn -- and found a beautiful blue, superwash, worsted weight wool.  I bought this wool years ago to make an adult version of the Lucia sweater but, for lots of reasons, that project didn't pan out.  One thing that I know about this yarn: it doesn't shine in stockinette stitch.  The stitch definition just isn't as crisp as I'd like.

 To replicate the drape I found in the cowl at the store, I pulled out Size 11 needles and started working in a pretty basic knit/purl stitch.  I guessed at how many stitches it would take to make a 12 or 13" tall cowl (because I couldn't be bothered before the holidays with making a gauge swatch) and started knitting.  I knew I wanted a cowl that was fairly long around, and I didn't trust my guess at a gauge be as spot on for that measurement.  So I worked flat, which I wouldn't normally do, and seamed the cowl into one big loop when it was long enough.  I could knit this cowl on auto pilot, which was a welcome relief at night from the mental accounting it takes to manage Christmas shopping for three girls.

That's the Blooming Cowl :: fairly quick, somewhat mindless, but generous in size and with a lovely drape.  I've included instructions for both knitting flat and seaming AND knitting in the round.  I hope you enjoy this free pattern!



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