Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in review

My backyard right now - (just because a post with no photos is lame)

Everyone probably knows this, but January is named for the Roman god Janus, who was in charge of beginnings and endings, transitions and time. His two faces look back to the past and forward to the future. (Guess it was tough for him to live in the present!)

Today I'm looking back over 2013 to see how I did with the goals I put out there a year ago.

I said I wanted to publish 18 patterns - I actually published 25! Somewhere along the way I got it in my head that I was supposed to do two a month, so I am really happy to be able to put this in the 'accomplished' column. My only other stated goal was to reduce stash - I have no idea if that happened. I've been using stash as KAL and test knit gifts but have also added quite a bit and really don't want to take the time to do the math. Let's just say I didn't reach this one.

I didn't actually SAY that I wanted to finish outstanding WIPs, but I did list them - all 11. One got frogged so I could use the yarn for something else, one got worked on a bit. The others? Untouched.

As far as what I DID knit:
16 sweaters
7 shawls
16 cowls/scarves
3 hats/headbands
that's 41 things and all of them were my designs! I used to like to pile them all up and take a photo, but that also sounds like too much work :P

Tomorrow I will look forward into 2014!

Happy New Year everyone! Have a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Forgot one!

This is the last my German wine series - Apfelwein

After I had chosen the name, a German knitting friend showed me a picture of traditional German Apfelwein glasses -

It actually went up before Antidote but I forgot to blog about it. If you bought/buy the first two (Glühwein and Eiswein), this one is free!

My box of yarn that needs to be turned into Christmas presents turned up today -

If I can knock out one a day I'll make it! First one is half done :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Need a fast gift knit?

This is Antidote. It takes one skein of bulky yarn, a button, and a couple of hours. I got my son to model it for me and now he wants one. Less fussy than a full length scarf, easier to get on/off than a cowl.

I may have lost my mind - I ordered yarn last night to make my son's plus 6 for my brother and his family...

40% off through December 22!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

One last sweater for 2013!

Modeled with a skirt I got last year about this time at a thrift shop on the Upper West Side of NYC :)
This is Rhinecliff and the yarn is Miss Babs' Heartland Worsted which I just love! I am working on another design in it right now and planning a third. I also want to reknit this one with wide stripes and no cables. Too many things to knit, too little time.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Warning! Bulky cowl overload!

I seem to be over my garter stitch phase and have moved into bulky cowl phase :)

I released Glühwein last week and it is on sale for 40% off through tomorrow.

Today I released Eiswein and it is on sale through December 13.

I don't think you can get the discount on both at once though - you probably have to go through the checkout twice.

I have one more German beverage-inspired bulky cowl on the way. I like to do things in 3's :)

Both of these knit up fast in bulky yarn and make great gifts. Glühwein is knit in Dragonfly Fibers Super Traveller and Eiswein is in madelinetosh's A.S.A.P. Both lovely yarns!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A year of sweaters!

When I went to Rhinebeck last year, I had not yet written a sweater pattern. I'd stuck my toe into garment designing with a few vests, but just hadn't quite worked up the nerve to tackle sweaters. There are hundreds of beautiful hand-knits to be seen at Rhinebeck, shawls and scarves, hats and cowls, mitts and gloves. But let's face it - it's really all about the sweaters!  I came home determined to pull out the sweater design I had been working on nearly a year before and give it a go.

In the winter of 2011-2012 I was playing around with Barbara Walker's top-down simultaneous set-in sleeve method on what later became my first sweater pattern - Serra. I had some notes I had found online in 2006 that I'd saved for future reference - mostly to do with changing Ms. Walker's proportions a bit. At the time, I didn't know of anyone else using her method. Turns out that several of us were exploring it at around the same time and now there are quite a few designs out there now based on that method. This was my prototype:

I had played around with other seamless construction methods before and sort of designed my own sweaters, but none of them fit like this! I love the look of set-in sleeves but hate everything about sewing them in - getting the pieces to fit (which often meant re-knitting a sleeve cap), doing the actual seaming (getting the tension just right, getting everything to line up perfectly, sewing in the ends from the seaming yarn), and the bulkiness that the seams caused. Not to mention that there was no way to know until you were done if the sweater was going to end up fitting properly. Here's a close up of the sleeve 'seam' on the final version of Serra -

Needless to say I LOVE this method of sweater construction and have thoroughly enjoyed this past year of adding sweaters to my pattern shop! In a year's time I've published 10 sweater patterns, have one in testing right now, and ideas for half a dozen more! And because it sometimes takes me a time or two to get thing just right, in the past year I have knit 18 sweaters! In the year's time before, I knit one! There are lots of sweaters that I have knit over the years, but I have only held on to about half a dozen from the past. The others I consider practice pieces. Sometimes you learn the most from the ones that are the biggest failures.

Here's a sneak peek at the design I hope to release in a couple of weeks -

I even like the grading process! I guess it pleases my inner math geek - but my family has learned not to bother me when I am up to my elbows in schematics and measurements and spreadsheets :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Every new pattern is always my favorite. DH says this one is his -

Stonehaven is now up on Ravelry and is 25% off with the giftalong code!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Indie Designers Gift-A-Long on Ravelry!

Starting November 1 GMT (which is 8pm on October 31 EDT) dozens of independent designers on Ravelry will be having a joint 25% off sale which goes through November 15 GMT (ending at 7pm EST).

You can find which designers are participating here. Some designers have selected specific patterns for the sale. All of my currently available patterns will be 25% off.

Once you've gotten your discounted pattern(s), head over to the GAL forum to join in the various knit-a-longs where there will be oodles of prizes! They run through December 31.

Happy holiday knitting!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shawls, shawls, shawls!

In August I started my Thunderstruck Mystery KAL but couldn't show a photo - here is the finished shawl at last!

In September, the secret pattern for Club Awesome was released featuring Dragonfly Fibers Pixie. It is still exclusive to the club but will become available to everyone in March 2014.

Finally, for October I've released Edge, and I can show it to you Right Away, LOL!

I know I know - garter stitch all over the place! But I have two more in the works for this year and neither one is in garter! Both were actually inspired by all the swatching I did for Pebble last spring. I had a panicky moment when I couldn't find that looooong swatch I did -
but I did find it and also the directions for the stitch pattern that I made up and want to use for one of those shawls. There are a few sweaters in the pipeline ahead of them, but I'm hoping to get them released before the end of the year. (Lots of downtime waiting for sweater test knits to be completed!)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Yay! Fall is here!!

I love this time of year so much! I guess it's a holdover from school days, but it always feel like a time of new beginnings for me. After the heat and laziness of summer, I am ready to Do All the Things! Clean my house, bake a pie, dig up things to take to Goodwill, start a good book, knit some sweaters!  To celebrate my favorite season, I'm having a sweater sale - for one week, starting today, all of my sweater and vest patterns on Ravelry will be 25% off using the coupon code SWEATERWEATHER.

You can see all my sweater designs here.

I also released a new cowl pattern recently. Tuck is on sale for 40% off through September 27.

(Unfortunately you can't take advantage of both sales at once - you will have to go through the check out twice if you want both Tuck on sale and a sweater or vest pattern with the coupon. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

Winter is coming :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Productive Procrastination

This is my daughter's phrase. I don't really have much to say today, but wanted to share because I thought it describes perfectly what I do sometimes   a lot. Usually when I need to finish up a knit (hello, sleeve island or thousand stitch bind off) and am tired of working on it. Instead of knitting I will check over the pattern, play around with the pattern page draft, make lists of what to knit, what to design, when to release things. Organize my stash. Do 'research' on Ravelry. Cast on for the next thing. Post on my blog :)  All things that need to be done but not necessarily what I should be doing.

Right now I need to knit the second sleeve for this:

But I'm not. I cast on for knit #2 for a new cowl design. I wonder if 3D printers can do sleeves?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another Mystery Knit-a-Long!

We had so much fun with the Sunstruck MKAL last spring and I promised to have another if I could think of another pattern that would lend itself to being broken down into clues. Funny thing is that it didn't occur to me that this one would work until I was well into it! So, I present -

Can't show you my shawl of course, but here's the yarn I used - Wollmeise Merino DK in 47 Ag and Zarte Knospe. Details on yardage, gauge, etc. is here and the pattern is half price until the first clue goes out on September 4. KAL thread is here - there are prizes!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Has it really been 2 months?!

I've been busy! I released Park Slope in July -

and Everlasting in August -

I currently have one sweater being tested -

and am looking for testers for another -

I'm also working on a shawl that I hope will be my next mystery KAL :)  This project has also spawned a cowl idea that I'm eager to play with.

I can't wait for fall and SWEATER WEATHER!! Watch this space for a little something to celebrate my favorite time of year!

Monday, June 24, 2013

I couldn't help myself

Shortly after designing Sunstruck, I started playing around with a similar idea but in a rectangular stole - a lot of people don't like triangular shawls ("butt pointers" LOL!)  I had hoped to use short rows again to get the nice straight lines but was not able to make them work with the angles I wanted. Using intarsia instead gave me nice straight edges at least :)


I am not really much of a blue lover, but madelinetosh may be converting me - I especially love the Ink colorway that I used for the outer border.

Oh, and of course I had to name it 'Moonstruck.'

It's available until the end of June at 40% off.

And the short row idea? I actually have something else sketched out to work on later this summer :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Just in time for the first hot day of 2013, my so-called mystery KAL pattern is now available as a regular all-in-one pdf.

We had a ton of fun in the KAL thread on Ravelry and I hope I can think of another shawl pattern that would be a good Mystery KAL :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New cardi

This is Pebble. Once again I have used the top-down, seamless, simultaneous set-in sleeve method - I just love the fit I get! 

Here's a close up of the stitch pattern:

It's called Dot Stitch and I don't know if I've ever come across any patterns that use it. I don't know why not - it's lovely to look at, doesn't bias, doesn't roll, and is so much less tedious than most textured patterns. I love seed stitch and moss stitch but can't really say that I love knitting either of them. This textured stitch is only patterned on the wrong side, the right side is simply knit.

It's on sale for 1 week for 40% off! Happy spring!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mystery Knit-a-Long!

When I was working on my latest shawl design, I kept thinking that it would be a fun project to do with a group. I've always liked the idea of mystery knit-a-longs, even though the one time I tried to do one in real time I ended up not liking the shawl and frogging it. This one is just a bit different, probably because of my experience. The first clue includes a sketch of the shawl - so you know basically what you're making and you can put your colors where they make you happy.

It's garter stitch. It has different colors. It's a scalene triangle. This one made my inner-geometry lover pretty happy :)  When I showed the sketch to my daughter, she said it was very much 'my style' - whatever that is!

Obviously I can't show any photos what with it being a mystery and all, but here's the place holder on my pattern and project pages:

These are the colors I used at least!

You can find the pattern here - it's half price until April 4 when the first clue comes out!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Baby Boom

When I decided to do a tiny sweater using the top-down, seamless, simultaneous set-in sleeve method, I had no idea how many of my testers were either expecting or knew someone who was. I needed a knitted baby gift myself and was curious about how this method would work with a tiny sweater. I'm really pleased with the results!

It's a great project for trying this method out if you aren't ready to tackle an adult-sized sweater. It isn't easy to come up with a name for baby things - there are SO MANY baby sweater patterns! I settled on Babycakes - a pet name for DD when she was tiny.

In other news - I have several teaching engagements! I can't think of anything more fun than spending a day talking about knitting with a bunch of knitters :)  In April I am teaching a sweater class at a Maryland knitting guild and also 4 (!!) classes at The Yarn Club in Virginia Beach. I'm doing two classes twice at The Yarn Club - a 2 hour class on planning ahead to knit sweaters that actually fit, and a 4 hour workshop on designing and knitting your own All the Shades of Truth/City Block style shawl/wrap/scarf/throw. We will be making miniatures of our creations in class. These are the minis I made when I was designing City Block - color placement is so important in this sort of shawl and this is a quick way to see if you're happy with your choices!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Burn Baby Burn!

I love turtlenecks and mock turtlenecks. When it's cold I'm not comfortable unless my neck is covered. Katharine and Audrey Hepburn liked them too.

"Burn" seemed like a good name for this pullover -

One of my testers knit this in CASHMERE with long sleeves and ribbing instead of the triangle pattern. I think I might need to copy her :)

Oh, and Burn is on sale for 40% off through March 9!

Monday, February 11, 2013

At long last

My latest design has been a long time coming.

I fell in love with a stitch pattern in my Japanese stitch dictionary a couple of years ago. I swatched and sketched and charted and plotted and schemed but just could not figure out exactly what I wanted to do with this stitch pattern - I just knew that I wanted to use it somehow!

I finally gave up on the idea of somehow making a triangular shawl out of it. Eventually I took the main element and charted out the mirror image. Then I added a column of alternating eyelets in between repeats. I took the tiny cable pattern that had been between repeats in the original stitch pattern and used it for an edge stitch.

Choosing the yarn was difficult too. Initially I thought I'd use DK weight - I had swatched in tosh dk and liked it. I had this lovely tosh merino dk and a rich russet color that would be gorgeous.

Unfortunately I discovered that purling two together through the back loops is quite difficult with single ply yarn :P I also considered some beautiful deep orange sport-weight from Yarn Chef and even wound it up.

But this wrap just demanded a luxury blend of fibers, so I finally settled on madelinetosh Pashmina in a lovely golden color.

Once I started working on what had become a rectangular stole, I realized it was going to need fringe.

I'm so pleased with the finished stole!