It has been a while since I posted a tutorial video, and it seems like this is a great place to share with you how to lock floats in knitting. The technique has been explored by a number of people, including Meg Swansen and Joyce Williams in the book Armenian Knitting. One of my sample knitters, Cindy Baily, encouraged me to give it a try and I've been locking floats ever since.
I promise you that it becomes really easy with practice. Yes, it slows me down just a touch while working, but it certainly makes the inside of a finished garment so beautiful.
Sometimes this technique will cause the floated yarn to "peek" through to the front of the fabric. Yarns with more "spring" work better for this technique, and while I'm swatching I work with different needle sizes to discover the best combination of yarn, needles, and pattern.
Here's hoping you are having a beautiful week!
It's a short and sweet blog post, but I can't contain my happiness!
In addition to a little studio remodeling, I have been working hard on a book proposal, and I am ecstatic to share the news with you that I just signed a contract with Interwave for my first book of knitting patterns (due out Spring, 2016)!
Of course, I can't say much about the details of the project... but I can share with you how overwhelmingly wonderful it feels to hear the good news.
With this new focus, and a bit of organizing done in the studio, I am ready to dive headfirst into a marathon of design and writing work!
The inspiration for the Aymara cowl arrived the day I saw Jorge del Carpio's Kickstarter campaign for Fibras Andinas. I read the story of the Chilean herders tending their flocks 11,000 ft above sea level, and learned how the development of this new project would provide an opportunity for the purchase and use of the fiber from the animals.
Over the next few months, I exchanged emails with Jorge and learned even more about his passion for helping his community. Once Nicole Snow from Darn Good Yarn joined on as the U.S. distributor, it was decided: I was going to design something special with this yarn.
The outside of the cowl is inspired by traditional Aymara weaving patterns, and the inside features round after round of adorable llamas! It's knit on circular needles, and the beginning and end are grafted together hiding all ends and making the entire piece reversible and oh-so-cozy.
This project takes two skeins each of 2 colors of sport weight yarn from Royal Llama (available in the United States via Darn Good Yarn). Is it soft, you ask? Most definitely. The fiber is de-haired llama. It's warm, luxurious, amazing to work with, and wearing the finished cowl is like getting a big hug from a long-lost friend. Of course, another benefit is knowing that your purchase of Royal Llama yarn helps support the Chilean llama herders!
Skills needed | Provisional cast on, knit, purl, working in the round, stranded color work, Kitchener stitch.
You will find the pattern on Ravelry HERE.
The pattern will be available in a kit available through Darn Good Yarn and Fibras Andinas.
Aymara is available in English & Spanish as an individual pattern (via the link below):
This is the second time I have had the pleasure of designing for Quince and Co.! This year I wanted to design a cowl that was simple enough for someone just venturing into the world of lace. Reversible, without being overly-complicated. A weekend of swatching and pondering yielded this new design.
Araminta requires basic knitting knowledge, including working in the round, increasing/decreasing, and finishing. Know how to knit, purl, yarn over, do simple decreases? Know how to do a twisted knit stitch? That's about all you need to know to make this cowl!
...And for those who have yet to work with Quince and Co. yarn, I encourage you to visit your LYS or order some online and give it a try. The colors are beautiful, and this particular yarn is soft, rustic, and familiar.
Of course, once you have the entire 14 pattern collection, it'll be hard to decide what to make first. There are options! Colorwork, cables, lace, pleats, asymmetrical wraps... the list goes on and on!
All the photography is stunning (as usual). It, along with the e-book layout is done by the uber-talented Carrie Bostick Hodge.
The yarn, I should say, is lovely. Owl is a favorite of mine because of its rustic feel. Not only does it work well with twisted stitches, it makes cables sing! Just a few weeks ago, Quince and Co. announced Owl Tweet! - the tweed version of Owl. I saw it at Stitches WEST and loved it. Perhaps someone will work Araminta in Tweet so I fall in love all over again.
There's a really great new book on the market for weaving using the rigid heddle loom! Woven Scarves features 26 different scarves and explores a number of different techniques among its pages.
Jane Patrick was the editor of Handwoven for years, and also worked as VP for Schacht Spindle. She knows her stuff when it comes to warp and weft!
Stephanie Flynn Sokolov has published and coauthored a number of books, and today (in addition she teaches in Bolder, CO).
The history and innovation of these two makes this book so special. Taking time to provide clear instructions on these techniques (and then branching out into other more unconventional fabrics) is what makes this book coveted.
3/21/14 - a day later than I hoped, but here are the results!
Congratulations to Nancy! An email has been sent to her giving her the good news. A copy of this great book is on its way to her!
Thank you to everyone for your comments and help sharing about this new book.
I designed the Modern Motif Pillow for Universal Yarn's new book: Nazeli Garden 5: Bring Your Garden Inside. The book contains 18 designs for the home. One side is covered in a floral motif and the opposite side uses a geometric design created after studying Georgian era garden plans.
Before sending the samples out to the publisher I took a few photos, and Dewey wanted to join the fun! He's so adorable I had to share one of those too.
The entire piece is worked in the round, and is finished with applied i-cord and sealed with a zipper.
The project is worked in the round and requires basic knitting knowledge, including knit/purl, i-cord, and finishing, including the installation of a zipper.
Learn more about the project HERE or visit the Ravelry page HERE.
San Francisco has mild (but unpredictable) weather. Traveling across the city folks who live here know it's wise to always carry a jacket. In the cooler times of year, a finely knit cowl or scarf also comes in handy. Inspired by architectural detail in San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House, Cabaletta is a fine knit that uses two different yarns from Crystal Palace to create a lightweight (but warm) cowl.
The name “Cabaletta” is a term in Italian opera defining a brisk aria that usually follows a more contemplative one. The word was derived from the Italian “Cavallo” (horse) and often the music accompanying the cabaletta can be reminiscent of a horse’s gallop.
I love the way this cowl feels. It's the perfect weight... I also think that for colder climates this design would be nice if the height was doubled.
The pattern is available on Ravelry (via the link below).
(or Why, Oh Why Do I Have All This Yarn?!)
Back in 2007, when I lived in Southern California I did a blog post HERE detailing my quite vast and large yarn stash.
Over 1,000 balls/hanks/skeins of yarn.
Looking back, (will I be sorry for saying this?) I believe that's too much yarn for one person to have. And when I moved to San Francisco, I sold or gave away almost all of it.
Here it is, seven years later (2014), I still have way too much yarn, but nowhere near the astronomical amount I had before. Today, I still hold onto sweater quantities that quietly wait for me to find the right pattern so it can be knit up.
I have a few bags of random skeins that I like for one reason or another, and a few small bins with special types of yarn that are destined for certain types of projects (like felting).
I have a bin of yarn for swatching, and a big bag of spinning fiber (think big suitcase and you'll get the picture).
Of course, I also have the yarn and fiber and materials for my dyeing projects that I sell in my SHOP.
There's a part of me that finds comfort in knowing that I have yarn "Just In Case"... but the reality is I rarely knit projects with it. I wonder if others do this same thing:
1. Decide I must knit something "new"
2. Find a pattern after much sorting and ruffling of papers, and digging online and Ravelry
3. Feeling happy that I just purchased 2 or 3 new patterns on Ravelry that I LOVE but am not quite ready to knit.
4. Go to stash.
5. Dig through stash and make a giant mess of the studio, looking for a certain yarn that HAS to be in here. Somewhere.
6. Find yarn I love but have no pattern to match with it.
7. Get frustrated and decide I really want to knit one of the patterns I bought, but have trouble finding the right yarn in my stash
8. Head out to my LYS and look at their yarn
8(a). Try not to be distracted by other yarns calling my name.. or needle felting... or quilting... or needlepoint... or... (you get the picture)
9. Find the PERFECT yarn (but not for the pattern I had decided to knit) - now I want to knit a different pattern but of course I didn't bring that one with me
10. Stand in the middle of the yarn shop with my iPhone logging onto Ravelry or searching for yardage and yarn details for said pattern.
11. Find (or not) the details, settle on yarn, support the yarn shop by making a purchase, and head home.
12. Get home, and cast on.
See? A big dig through the yarn hoard and nothing found. I STILL ended up going out to buy yarn (and of course, the yarn that's in my stash was also purchased... meant for a project, someday...)
The stash that never gets used is sort of like having a refrigerator full of food but not finding anything appealing to eat. (It's a lovely problem to have, I suppose!) -and sometimes the yarn bought for a project in the above scenario ends up in the stash because the pattern didn't work out, or for one reason or another the project got frogged.
I don't really know what I want to do with my stash yarn. Chances are it'll just sit right where it is until I need to do this ritual of digging through it only to find what I want isn't there.
So here's my question: What do you do with your stash yarn? Do you buy yarn in anticipation of finding the "right" pattern? Do you like "The Matching Game"? Or are you someone who likes to mix it up and work freeform projects? I'm curious how much yarn is in your stash, and what causes you to buy yarn or fiber when you have plenty at home. Waiting. In your stash.
It feels good to see an idea come full circle. My very first published knitting pattern was designed with plans to raise money for a nonprofit focused on helping people facing breast cancer. A few years later, I was able to collaborate with other designers to create the first volume of the Good Deeds series in an effort to boost the visibility of the nonprofit benefiting from the project by offering an entire collection of patterns!
Folks who work in fiber (knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, etc.) are amazing. We use our talents and devote our time to help those in need by not only making hats, scarves, blankets, and sweaters, but also by talking about the issues that impact our lives.
Good Deeds, Volume One: Hats was launched in October, 2013. All proceeds from the purchase of this collection benefit the wonderful and worthwhile works of Breast Cancer Connections in Palo Alto, CA.
At the beginning of each new year, I will post the sales and donation totals for the previous year. Now that the production costs are covered, each new purchase creates a donation of $14.25 (less the cost of any ads). A total of 40 copies of the collection were sold October - December, 2013, and after expenses, that makes for a donation in the amount of $425.03 going to Breast Cancer Connections.
It's a treat to be able to make this first annual donation to this great nonprofit. They provide support for people facing cancer, and even opportunities such as talks on how to be an effective caregiver for those providing assistance to others. Recently, they expanded their mission to include support for women facing ovarian cancer as well. They offer writing workshops, mindfulness meditation, and even Tai Chi / Qi Gong to their clients, and even a boutique where clients can select hats and wigs that might help them to be more comfortable as they face the rigors of chemotherapy.
Projects like this thrive on the energy that comes from folks talking about and sharing the news. Thank you to the designers who donated their talents, the models that donated their time, and to everyone who has blogged and posted about the project. Here's to more good deeds in 2014!
There really is nothing like working with handspun yarn. And wearing a hat made from woolen-spun yarn is a comfy, cozy, toasty treat!
I designed this hat for PLY Magazine's Winter 2013 issue using woolen spun 3-ply yarn made with Kyle William dyed BFL in the colorways Silver Thaw and December Sky (often available in the shop HERE).
Carefully spun by NY spinner Aaron Bush, it was really a treat to be able to make a hat using materials that had been so lovingly prepared.
The fibers come in 4 ounce quantities, and the hat uses under 100 yards of each color. When Aaron spun up the fiber, he blended the colors together by creating rolags of built-up tufts of fiber. This method created an evenly-varigated finished yarn.
If you aren't yet a spinner, talk to other fiber friends, or check artist sites like www.etsy.com for options. Compare the yarn you're considering to the details in the project, and if it's close, chances are, it'll make a nice finished hat.
And for those who prefer commercially spun yarn, a light worsted or DK yarn should fit the bill. This pattern is a little more difficult than others to re-size since the pattern repeat is so large. Altering needle or yarn size will change the finished dimensions.
...and beyond my small contribution, I have to tell you. PLY Magazine is chocked full of thoughtfully worded articles and beautiful images. Want to learn to spin? Already an expert? Seriously, this magazine has a lot of great information (it even includes some great product reviews!)
I hope you'll check it out while you can!