Friday, October 31, 2014

Indie Designer Revisit

© Jane Heller
Designer: Inna Aleksandrova
Rav ID: Yantarik
Some Great Designs: Yantarik's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: January 16, 2009

So many years ago! Wow! I profiled this designer before she had any published designs in 2009. I was very pleased to return to her work and see that she's been published in Knitty, Petite Purls, and Twist Collective!

Sigulda comes in both women's and men's. Look at the pretty! These are attractive sweaters that demonstrate a masterful combination of texture (both physical, through stitch definition, and optical, through colours) AND colourwork.

You might think putting those two together would be easily overwhelming. And you're correct! It takes a skilled designer to harmoniously bring together disparate elements, each with the distinct ability to overwhelm the other or create a garment that's "too busy".

These sweaters are such a great balance! I love it.
They were published in Twist Collective Winter 2013. I can only hope that we get to see more work from Yantarik soon!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rock Quarry: Why the Short Rows?

I've had a few questions regarding the short rows on the recently released Rock Quarry Stole (featured in Interweave Knits Fall 2014).

One of the main reasons people have been asking me about these short rows is because their function doesn't appear to be obvious from the photos published in the magazine.
Fortunately, I've been able to get my hands on a second sample, borrowed with thanks from the fantastic ladies at Handknit Yarn Studio.

Ok, let's get into it!

1) What's the point of the short rows?
I designed short rows into the stole so that it would wrap more comfortably and closely around the wearer's shoulders. See this photo below.

2) These short rows are weird! When do I pick up the wraps?
When I swatched for this pattern I quickly discovered that when you're working in linen stitch, wrapping your stitches (as you would generally do when creating short rows) is unnecessary. The fabric is quite dense on its own, and the function of the wraps isn't needed. Which is great! Cause it makes the knitting speedier.

3) Can I just omit the short rows?
Absolutely! The short rows aren't dramatic or drastic. See the images below for a glimpse at "height" of the curve created through the short rows.

And for good measure, here's the stole, laid flat, seen from above with the RS facing.

And the WS facing. Note: the curve you can see here is because I intentionally encouraged the short rows to curve out. As you can see from the RS photos, it is entirely capable of laying flat.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween is the Greatest!

Coming in #1 as my favourite holiday is Halloween.
There's ample evidence of this preference on this here blog.
And usually I make my costume. I LOVE making my costume. And, I suppose, in a round about way, I did make my costume for this year.

I've decided to dress up as Lucy Ricardo. My mom's going as Ricky. Bam! Family costume! (Really, the biggest reason I wanted her to go as Ricky was because of the little wee conga drum I bought from her in Cuba last year. Score for early costume buying!)

As you can see from these Lucy pics, she's got a big skirted, blue polka dot dress. Serendipitously, I've already sewn myself a retro blue polka dot dress. Bam! Half costume done!

The other half will consist of ridiculous red lipstick and a big blazing red wig that isn't particularly accurate but will have to do.

And as always, I'm planning a big shindig for Halloween.

How about you? Are you dressing up? What are you going as?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rhinebeck: Video Recap 2014

I gave you some of the details in this post, but here's the (now traditional) Rhinebeck video recap post!
See 2013 and 2011.

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Jennifer Beaumont
Rav ID: Jenmama
Some Great Designs: Jenmama's Rav Designer Page

I research and line up these indie designer posts pretty far in advance.
For example, I first contacted this week's designer in July. She very kindly gave me permission! At the time, she had two designs. The Bright Windows Beret and the Pixelated Pullover (pictured).

I knew that these two would certainly give me plenty to talk about. Plus, they're super cool! I LOVE the Pixelated Pullover. Not only is the colourwork fun, offering plenty of room for creative palette choices, the colours she picked for the samples are so right up my alley. NEON BABY! Look at it. In all its bright bright glory.
And for those who are reticent to commit to much/any neon, something like the Pixelated Pullover is great. You can play with just a touch of it. And how it's placed in this photo, up by the wearer's face, is a lovely way of drawing attention to your beaming smile (which you know you'll have because you'll be wearing an awesome sweater!)

So yes, plenty to say about even just one of her patterns. But, wouldn't you know it, she's been awfully busy these past few three months! As of today, she has three new patterns!
Tessellated Pullovers is another riot of colourwork fun (with herringbone and houndstooth options!)
Gemstone Wristers and Pixelated Palms are both cute colourwork pieces, demonstrating her strength with this technique and eye for combinations. I'm really looking forward to seeing what she designs next!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fawned; A New Pattern

I think scarves have gotten a bad reputation.

Whenever you talk to someone who's a new knitter, they sum up their skills derogatorily as "only" being able to knit a scarf.
Those many years ago when I began knitting, the talk was always about moving on from scarves. They're just a starting point, and if you want to be serious you're going to want to knit more important and interesting stuff.

I'm here to say: I think scarves are fun, very functional, and can most certainly be interesting!

Here's Fawned, my latest pattern. It's included in Knit Pick's fall 2015 Northwoods collection (alongside some wonderful patterns!)
On Ravelry

Fawned is designed to be a little wider and a touch longer than your average scarf. Great for wrapping around your neck!
It also has the added fun of pom poms. YES! Pom poms. You know you love them. And here, they're also quite a functional element: they keep the ends of your scarf hanging down, and thus less likely to blow away and in your face this chilly season. Bam! Design element as functional fun!

The cables meander from one pointed end to the other, surrounded by a cozy pair of plains of seed stitch.

Want to knit Fawned? Join the KAL in the Canary Knits group on Ravelry. You can win priiiiizesssss!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rhinebeck Recap 2014

View with my morning coffee. Ahhhh.
Oh, Rhinebeck. What to write about Rhinebeck!

I had a fantastic time this year. I road tripped it with a couple of friends and we stayed in a near-impossibly charming 1800s farmhouse in Red Hook. The drive down the I-87 made me, yet again, want to live in the Hudson Valley.

As this was my third Rhinebeck, I had a better idea of how the weekend unfolds itself. The layout of the fairgrounds is familiar now; certain vendors are generally in the same places year-to-year. You know that there's that tent with the DELICIOUS cheese from Sprout Creek right outside the barns with sheep and llamas and alpacas and booths full of small farms and dyers selling their hard-to-get yarns.

I returned to two such booths this year, and that's where I spent the bulk of my cash. Maple Creek Farms, which is nowhere to be found online (I've tried!), was filled with layers and layers of unwound hanks draped down in cascades of fibrey rainbows.

Oasis Farm had, yet again, fantastically soft and unbelievably inexpensive angora for sale. I restrained myself to one hank (220 yards). Bonnet, anyone?

I had the famous apple cider doughnuts (next year I'm buying a dozen and bringing them home with me!!), enjoyed the alpaca parade on numerous occasions, and had the distinct pleasure of watching the Leaping Llama competition. Yes, leaping llamas.
Wandering the Rhinebeck roads with Kate.

I was able to meet up with and run in to a few American friends!  And of course, I missed out on crossing paths with others. We'll have to plan better for 2015.
Wearing The Rhinebeck Sweater.

Soon to come will be my (now traditional) video recap. In it,  I'll be including in it a show and tell of my purchases, as well as some tips and advice gleaned from these three years of Rhinebeck attendance.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Knitting Book Read Along: Let's Pick Book Two!

Thanks to all you wonderful people who participated, I think our first knitting book read along was a great success. We had some great discussions on the ravelry group, and I feel like it's time to select our second read along book!

I have a short list, gathered from suggestions from numerous knitters. This short list is what we'll vote on. Find the poll below.


I'll leave the voting open until November 1.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fire Hair!

For years, and with varying success, I've tried to get myself fire hair.
These failed and disappointing attempts were all so because (at least, I believe it's because) it was ME doing the dyeing, and not a professional.

Enter the professional!
Foil head!

While I dig the idea of a full head of fire hair (my pinterest board is no joke, people!), I wanted to see how the professional's dye would behave on my hair before I went all-out. I elected to just dye the bottom section of my hair, from the ears down.

The dye they used is called Elumen, and I've been promised that it sticks in your hair like mad.
My hair is a medium-dark brown, so to get the intensity of colour I was looking for, it needed to be bleached out.
Bleached and ready for colour!

The colour itself only sat on my hair for about 20-30 minutes. And wowzers! Did the yellow ever turn out great! I'm less impressed with the red and orange, though have been promised that with successive dyes they'll be much more saturated colours.
The pixie magic that is stylists' styling.

It remains to be seen if I'll do my whole head in fire hair. The prospect is exciting. I'll keep you in the loop with the behaviour of this Elumen dye. I really hope it sticks! Cause fire hair rocks!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Jessica K. Larson
Rav ID: omarsyarn
Some Great Designs: omarsyarn's Rav Designer Page

We've got a great accessory designer this week. I'd like to show you three of her shawls:

Lakewood (pictured) is a near-hypnotic play with curved lines and texture. It has a unique sideways construction, with the rows never getting too long! This looks like it would be a relaxing, entertaining knit.

In Flight uses angled rows of yarn overs in a simple and effective demonstration of how shape and drape effect a basic, traditional shawl.

Froom is cool: it uses plain stockinette, with very interesting elongated stitches, to create depth, interest, and movement.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Delightfully Geo SALE!

I'm still very in love with this design.
I've found myself wearing it up, over, and all around the place this autumn. It's great to throw on over a tee or long sleeved shirt.
With the extra positive ease (not usually within my repertoire, but here used for great effect) it's great for wrapping around yourself and feeling cozy.

And since I live in the lovely loveliness of Ontario, where the autumn beauty is spectacular, I thought I'd take some more outdoor pics of my favourite FO.

Oh yes, and IT'S ON SALE!

Today ONLY, you can download Geo Delight for only $4.

I would LOVE to see some Geo Delight FOs. And I know you won't be disappointed with this knit!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rhinebeck Ready(ish)!

This is exciting, ruffling my feathers and getting me all in a tizzy. But a fantastic tizzy!

I'm furiously working away on my Rhinebeck sweater (which at this point is only down to the waist). Yep. Oh, and it's in sock weight. Because that's how I roll.

So, do you think I can do it? Can I finish a sock weight sweater, from the waist down, and the sleeves (both of them!) AND the neckline? Can I? EXCITING! Playing with fire!

I've also heard that it's not really a Rhinebeck sweater if you're not knitting up the last bits in the car on the way there, and blocking it in the hotel room the night before.

At this point I think a good block is not gonna happen. But the sweater might!(?)

So hey, if you'll be at Rhinebeck, and you happen to see me (hopefully in a neon green sweater!) come say hi! I'd love to meet you.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Melissa Schaschwary
Blog: dandilion girl designs
Rav ID: dandiliongrl
Some Great Designs: dandiliongrl's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has over 100 patterns, which I'm sure you'll understand, made it difficult for me to choose what to talk about!

I'll keep it to the women's garments and accessories, but you need to know that she has a great collection of knits for kids and a few for men, too.

Oh man, I love this one: Chateau. Just look at that glory of batwing-y, cabled goodness. You know you want one too. You can totally imagine walking down a tree-lined lane in this beauty that is October wearing this knit. SO gorgeous.

And in a leap to a totally different time of the year, North Fork is a softly summer tee with wide stripes. While it might be a simple top down raglan, it has a cute bit of short-row ingenuity with a split hem, keeping this piece seamless and fun to knit.

Finally, River Edge is a hat that would make a fantastic gift. Its textured surface is great for both solid and variegated yarns, but I bet you'll want to keep one for yourself (or, you know, just knit tons of them!)

Friday, October 03, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Nicole Montgomery
Blog: Behind the Scenes at Trappings and Trinkets
Rav ID: colie75
Some Great Designs: colie75's Rav Designer Page

There's a lot to show you with this week's designer, so point-form it is! But first, an introduction:
With dozens of patterns for adults and children, colie75's designs can carry you all through the year!

Beekeeper's Tank: I love the loose and flowing lines of this sleeveless top. And the honeycomb detail at the neckline is so sweet!

Siesta Tee: A breezy mesh top, perfect for walking along the beach.
(and I had to include a second one):
Summer Vines: a textured and handsome sleeveless tank.

Orchard Pullover:(pictured) Super pretty! I think maybe I'm a sucker for a good cable combination, but this sweater is so great! I dig the neckline, too.

Snowy: This is a delicately colourworked slouchy hat, that I think would look equally well on a man or a woman.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Wedding Prep: Bouquets n Things!

I'm getting married on Saturday, and have been making my brains out!
See earlier posts here and here.

Pom pom bouquet: left over yarn from years gone by and decorative bunches of sticks, cut down to about 12" long, from the dollar store. Make the pom pom, tie it off, but before you fluff it up, dab a bit of hot glue in the middle and place the stick through the centre. Ta da!

Jaunty wee corsages and boutonnieres. For the boutonnieres, I just used a thin piece of leather as the backing and wrapped copper wire around it, some feathers, and a pin. The acorns were gathered about a month ago and finished by drying in the oven and then hot gluing the caps (all of which had popped off) back on.

The corsages are mainly felt, but also have remnants of silk yarn as pom poms, with a few feathers and of course an elastic wrist band. Hand sewn. Didn't take very long at all.

And now I think I'm ready! Bring on the party!