Friday, March 29, 2013

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Jenny Raymond
Blog: zJonquil Designs
Rav ID: zzwhitejd
Some Great Designs: zzwhitejd's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: May 15, 2009

Tidy, neat, and well-executed designs are a hallmark of this month's Indie Designer Revisit. I can see that she's something of a technician through her designs, but also her "Easy Graft". Check it:

Jenny’s Easy Graft:
"This technique is in some ways similar to a 3 Needle Bind Off, but does not incorporate the extra knit and BO stitch. Instead, this graft is obtained with a sewn edge, just like the Kitchener. It is perfect for sock toes, folds and any time you have 2 sets of live stitches you would otherwise be trying to seamlessly graft. This is not original to me, others have done it before… usually in error and completely confuzzled just like I was."

So now, let's take a look at her designs!

Since it's been almost four years (wow!) since I first profiled zzwhitejd, there's plenty of new work to see. In a cool little turn of events, I mentioned a pattern in the original post that had been frogged, and as luck would have it, it's been re-worked into an entirely new pattern, pictured here, the Vines Caplet (an adult version will follow!)
This pattern is part of an ebook, How Does Your Garden Grow? with 6 other delightful patterns for adults and children.

I'd also like to point out the very pretty Ardor, a tidy shawl capitalizing on the simplicity of textural variety.

She has crochet, too! I love to point out great crochet when I see it, and her Crochet Cowl Necklace pattern is one. I dig the sculptural swirls, twists, and bends that crochet can do for us. Beauty!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Sylvie Rasch
Blog: That's Crasy
Rav ID: raschi
Some Great Designs: raschi's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer is a Berliner (I wish I lived there!) who's knitwear designs have a sort of textural vitality that is perfect for my Spring-minded self.
Whether the weather agrees with me or not is another story!

On to the designs!

While we're still dealing with winter weather, Loop Schneewittchen (Snow White) is a pretty pattern that shows off that playful use of texture. If you can read German, you're in luck: the pattern isn't yet translated into English.

La Fleur is a delicate beret, featured in a recent ebook published through The project page announces an English version to come.

These are SO CUTE: Parisian Chic Ballerina Shoes.  I love how she's styled them with buttons and different pins.

Kittybell (pictured), is my favourite. Look how cute! Gah!

Twinkleflower, (only available in German), is a very pretty set of beaded hand/wristwarmers that would be perfect to herald in the increasingly warm days of Spring!

Monday, March 18, 2013

An Ode to the Hinterland; First Steps in a Process

In the previous post in this series, I bloviated outlined some of the very broad ideas surrounding, and direct inspiration for, my upcoming independently published collection.

Here, I'd like to talk a bit more practically about how ideas go from abstract thoughts to the concrete-on-paper.

Every designer has a different process. I personally like to use a new collection idea as a splendiferous excuse to get myself a new wee notebook to devote to it.

In this case it was one of these guys. The cover gives me the ability to stamp the title on, and is just the right size for a collection of about 20 or less patterns.
I like blank pages instead of lined ones for the ability to sketch clearly (my printing, on the other hand....)

A frontpage and table of contents is created, and then usually some general key ideas, set down as word clouds/webs. And this is just stuff that pops in to my mind when I think of the look and feel of the collection. Where I want to go with it. This one, for example, has keywords including harvest / thick cables / tone-on-tone / hills / natural colours / warmth / September.

I also usually include a page for jotting down more specific ideas and questions, with things such as release dates, number and type of garments, photoshoot locations, and so on.

In the case of the Hinterland collection (working title!), it really was the location that first generated the idea. So, I'm hoping, pretty hardcore, that I can get me and my models out to this ideal location for the shoot.

But that's a ways down the road!

The notebook then has a couple pages devoted to each garment, with room to sketch, jot down notes, and preliminary techniques, yarn ideas, and possibly gauge swatches. Very little math is happening now.

It's this notebook that helps me clarify the collection, keep my ideas and thought process together, and arrange a collection so that all the pieces are complementary and thematically harmonious.

Before I go, a bit of fun: Hinterland Who's-Who.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Holly Priestley
Blog: Sillylittlelady's Space
Rav ID: sillylittlelady
Some Great Designs: sillylittlelady's Rav Designer Page

It's the waning days of winter.
We're all keen for some spring, some lightness, and some fun

This week's designer delivers!

I think all her patterns have this sense of lightness and fun.
(also, I think she's pretty cool: her fave colour is yellow, she likes good wine and cheese, and loves dogs! We would totally get along great! Anyway, on to the patterns!)

The pictured Dropped Stitch Pullover shows you just what I mean. Great for the spring, this lightweight knit has airy dropped stitches and loose, comfortable design.

For incredible fun? Check out Bearded Viking Helmet. It's just as it sounds, and looks even cooler. I think next year I'm a Viking for Halloween!

The Compass Rose Stole is a lovely rectangular stole, suitable for beginners, but with just enough lace detail to keep you interested in your knit. I love the photo on the pattern page of the shadow of the stole. Very pretty.

Sunny Grey Skies is another pretty, very wearable knit. A half-circle shawl with nice lace edging, this piece is very attractive for the upcoming, increasingly warmer months.

Finally, here's Twisted, a cute and fun cabled, pom-pomed earflap hat.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Wendy Chapman
Blog: Blue Dog Woolies
Rav ID: bluedogwoolies
Some Great Designs: bluedogwoolies' Rav Designer Page

Today is International Women's Day.

Here on Canary Knits there's no shortage of intelligent, talented women discussed. That's one of the things I find exciting and rewarding about the freedom of the internet: all our voices are hear, and can be heard.

But, on to this week's designer!

I love the first design up, the pictured Roosh. It's a great starting point when delving into this designer's work.  With a style that's always wearable, bluedogwoolies creates knits that you have fun knitting and wearing. Versatile, useful accessories like:

Dimple. This wonderfully textured headband has multi-generational appeal. Knit one for you, grandma, and even your little niece. Keeping your ears warm in the waning days of winter is important, and with this headband you can enjoy the knit and the wearing.

Ibis. A cowl with lovely button detail.

Annie Boot Cuff. There's something about this piece, which "fills the gap at the top of your boot and helps keep you warm and toasty while looking great at the same time." So pretty! And, knit in bulky weight, you know you'll have an almost-instant-gratification-FO on your hands!

Blue Streak. This also makes a great last-minute gift. So warm and cozy, I can imagine wearing this piece to pieces in the cold weather. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

An Ode to the Hinterland

I've been flooding the blog as of late with book reviews (very fun to write!) and the weekly Indie Designer profiles, but not so much about what I'm actually working on.

This is the first in an ongoing series where I'll be documenting details about an upcoming independently published ebook.

In this post, I thought I'd give you a bit of a hint to the collection's focus and inspiration.

I grew up very rural. My grandfather had a parcel of land in the countryside, with gloriously ramshackle buildings and outdated, even self-fashioned farm machinery. Being in that place, a place so far away from other people, is like comfort food to me. Being out and away from excessive artificial light, somewhere the stars pop out of the sky in piercing brightness, with the freedom of a nightly summertime bonfire at your whim. Surrounded by hand-fashioned creativity, tall grass, wild animals, woodland and trees, close to the river, with shorebirds and those from the forest edge crying loudly or chirping softly as you realize you, as a human, are definitely the minority.

This backdrop has been used for some of my patterns' photoshoots before, in particular the September's YearLong YarnSong. This idyll is, I'd like to think, more than just a foolish and flimsy romanticization of childhood memories. The expanse of open space metaphorically feels like so much room to breathe, and exist in a place where your relationship with the real is less cluttered with the visual trappings of what people want and what people think.

To be brought into a more direct connection to life outside of humanity, and force outward any excessive introspection1 is part of what makes experiencing time in a remote place so enticing. Seeing the relationship with why and how we live, which is always and inevitably tied to the geological, and the biological realities of this world; being prepared to experience a quiet walk in the woods, or a cacophonous stumbling upon the flock's whereabouts, that impromptu picnic and starlit bonfire, and even the precise moment when the summer ends and the crispness begins.

I don't want the animals to be strangers, and their existence to be an intrusion. I want to be warm and free and viscerally joyful.

And of course, I want to be wrapped in hand knits that complement, or even enable, this experience.

In the abstract, these are the the ideas surrounding my upcoming collection.

1 Posited by some modern scholars as the source of our contemporary malaise and continually oppressive desire for more.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Winner! Vintage-Inspired Baseball Knits

We have a winner!
The random number generator has spoken, and StaceyKnitsIt is the lucky knitter of her favourite pattern from Allyson Dykhuizen's Vintage-Inspired Baseball Knits!

I've sent your contact info to Allyson, and she'll be in touch with you soon.

Thanks to everyone who entered.

Elbie is Famous!; Or, Embarrass the Bird in March

Braving the rain of March, wee Elbie has his humiliation at sea.

February at the ball.
January in Bavaria.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Sally Cameron
Blog: Pink Hair Girl
Rav ID: pinkhairgirl
Some Great Designs: pinkhairgirl's Rav Designer Page

"Designing is often about story telling to me."

I love this quote from our indie designer this week, pinkhairgirl.

A very talented knitter from South Africa, she has a nice variety of patterns, including the pretty
Guardian Angel. A comfy shawl that utilizes garter stitch, cables and lace. The elements are balanced perfectly to create this very knittable knit!

I LOVE Little Nutbrown Hare.  Since I suppose I should be acting (and dressing) like a fully fledged adult, I shouldn't be wishing this came in adult size. I'm a little jealous of all those little wee babies running around with this absolutely adorable hat on! Really, check it out. Tell me you don't have part of you that wants that hat for YOU!

Inspired by Game of Thrones, the Winter is Coming Shaw is a fascinating exercise in designer inspiration. If you check out the pattern page on ravelry, you'll see how each section of the shawl is influenced by the series from the Wall to Dragon Scales to Icicles.

Finally, I'd like to point out pinkhairgirl's Baby Jar Pin Cushion. It's a simple, cute little knitted pin cushion to sit atop a baby food jar.