Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Knitting Tool Profile: Stitch Holders

This is the sixth post in a year-long series1. I'll post a new one on the last Tuesday of every month, with facts, photos, and further resources about twelve knitting tools

Stitch holders are usually necessary. I wish someone would invent some decent ones. Ones that are flexible, that will not snag, on which the stitches will not shrink, and that can be so firmly secured that the stitches will not slip off when you hurriedly jam the work into your bag...
-Maggie Righetti, Knitting in Plain English
Shop: Buttermilk Cottage

© S.Kate for Spindle Cat Studio

Shop: Vintage Curateur
What is it?
Stitch holders are tools that hold live stitches when they not being used by the needles. They are generally (but not always) closed loops of some sort.

Fun Facts
  • According to June Hemmons Hiatt, there are four different kinds of holders; small coilless pins, tiny single point needle with spring-held caps that snaps over the tip, double point needles with two caps, and a version for holding a large number of stitches that resembles a "jumper needle"
  • this jumper needle's function is replaced by interchangeables
  • June Hemmons Hiatt advises using circular needles or a few dpns with tip protectors
  • While some people suggest using spare yarn as stitch holders, Maggie Righetti notes that the downsides to this are that the stitches have a tendency to shrink, and the yarn can leave flecks of unwanted fibre behind
  • Large safety pins can be used, with the disadvantage of being sharp and thus easy to split your yarn on.

Further Reading
The Principles of Knitting, June Hemmons Hiatt
Knitting in Plain English, Maggie Righetti


Buttermilk Cottage
Vintage Curateur Shop
Spindlecat Studio
1 Read the others here.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Great Northern: Moodboards

 Over the coming weeks you're going to see peeks behind-the-scenes for Great Northern.

First, I want to show you all some moodboards that Leah and I put together to begin forming our design ideas. Pinterest has been fantastic for collecting images that we can share privately (except for these partial screen caps, of course!)
Above you see images that Leah gathered to share with our graphics designer Laura of Ink Whale Design. The simple, clean-lined, outdoorsy look is something that we think reflects the mood of the show as well as our own aesthetic tastes. We've brought the 90s vibe into the 21st century.

Above is the board we put together to share design ideas, including textures, patterns, yarn, and colours. As you see, we're keeping with the vibe set by that first moodboard, with a general overtone of neutrals with colours that pop.

And this board, well, this board is on my own public Pinterest profile, and it's where I've collected some inspirational images of characters, the town of Twin Peaks (seriously, check out that map!) and a general sense of shapes and textures that will guide my design process.

Want to keep up to date about Great Northern? Sign up for our mailing list!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Christina Werge
Blog: herrlicnkeiten
Rav ID: schneefloeckchen
Some Great Designs: schneefloeckchen's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: February 17, 2012

When I first profiled this designer over three years ago I noted that her style focuses on fine detail and texture. Here, I'll give you a sampling of some of the patterns she's published since then, all with the same wearable, feminine aesthetic.

She's been published in several magazines; pictured is her contribution to Knitty Spring/Summer 2013, her Daphne Tank. It's got short rows, smocking at the waist, and is knit sideways. Doesn't that sound like a fun knit!?

She's also had her work featured in Clotheshorse. Carousel is an elbow-sleeve-length summery pullover with super cool openwork and a pretty, dramatic dip at the back neckline.

The last piece I'll mention was published in Hitch: Patterns Inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Her Annie Pullover is inspired by Annie Hayworth, a character from The Birds. The sweater has a mid-century vibe, with a shaped waistline, 3/4 length sleeves, and a delicate, classic boatneck.

Check out more of Christina's work on her Ravelry Designer Page!

Thursday, June 25, 2015


The winner of last week's giveaway for the Holla Knits Summer 2015 issue is ShadowAP! I've contacted you on Ravelry.

Still want more chances to win? Just follow along with the rest of the blog tour:

June 26: Midwest Yarn

June 29: Emma Welford
July 2: Canary Knits

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Colourwork Conundrum

This is nearly a "what I'm working on" post.
It's still just a fermenting idea.

I picked up a few sweet little colourwork hanks from Fleece Artist in April, and so I'm dreaming about a cropped, colourwork yoke sweater.

One neat trick you can do to test out the suitability of colours is to photograph them together, and strip the colour from it by switching it to black and white.

Brooklyn Tweed has a great, in-depth post about how this process works. Basically, if you want distinct colourwork, you want yarn colours that, when switched to black and white, have distinct tones. They should stand out from each other. You can see how the wine coloured yarn is quite different from the gold and cream, but the gold and cream aren't suuuuper different from each other.

So, I'm wondering: should I move ahead with these three colours?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Heitor is a play in garter, stockinette, and short rows. This lightweight cowl is perfect for layering, and is large enough to wear as a hood. Short row garter titch sections are stacked to create interest in this otherwise simple in-the-round knit.

Lorna’s Laces Sportmate, 70% superwash merino, 30% Outlast viscose, 270 y / 247 m per 100 g hank, Thundercloud (2 hanks)

3.75 mm (US 5) circulars (approx 16” / 40 cm length) or size to obtain gauge

20 sts and 28 rows = 4” / 10 cm in stockinette
To ensure the best fit, please check your gauge

One size; 21.5” / 54.5 cm long and 30” / 76 cm circumference

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ways to Wear Lady Bat

Summertime is upon us! You can bust out those hot-weather knits and live it up.
Here's a few Lady Bats, styled perfectly for this time of year.

With leggings.

With modified, less drapey sleeves.

With jeans.

With a contrasting top beneath

With a neutral coloured top beneath.
sdurank's Lady Bat 

In a neutral yarn colour.

In a yarn colour that pops!
DanaRae19's Antique Gold Bat

Friday, June 19, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Jennifer Lysen
Website: Cedar House Yarns
Rav ID: LadyLysen
Some Great Designs: LadyLysen's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has six pieces up in her Ravelry portfolio, each with a cute, fun vibe.

Taylor (pictured) is a garter stitch shawl with a funky, dramatic ridged edge of points. It's knit from side-to-side and has a dropped stitch, cleverly used to created the illusion of two separate sections.

Her Tulip Cuffs are a happy little project that use lace and buttons to give you a speedy wee FO that is great for an extra touch of warmth on your wrists, and a great use of leftover yarn bits.

She's also got a couple sock patterns, but I'll point you specifically to her Lake Chelan Socks. They were inspired by Lake Chelan in Washingtion, and feature opposing cables which set off eyelet waves, like ripples across the water.

She is also the owner of Cedar House Yarns. Check out her shop here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Holla Knits Summer Blog Tour Part One

Summertime is hot time.
And outside time.
And travel time.

An often heard refrain amongst knitters is that these warm months pose us issues. What to knit? How do we fit the square peg of our heat-retaining craft into the round hole of the blazing hell heat of summer?

I'm on board with you there, my friends. I find summer challenging. But, I put my thinking cap on and came up with a list of tips and tricks to allow you to engage in this wondiferous craft of ours while still (suffering? enjoying?) the heat.

You'll find tips on:

knitting on a boat
knitting while camping
knitting while travelling
And much more!

This issue of Holla Knits is filled with other fantastic articles and patterns, all with the pop of fun that you know HK will bring. Want to get your hands on your own copy?

I'll be GIVING AWAY a free pdf of the entire magazine to one lucky knitter. All you have to do is comment on this post and tell me what you're up to this summer! REMEMBER to leave me a way to contact you. You can enter until Wednesday June 24. Winner announced June 25.

Good luck!

Follow along with the blog tour schedule below.

June 17: Klever Knits
June 18: Canary Knits

June 22: MediaPeruana
June 26: Midwest Yarn

June 29: Emma Welford
July 2: Canary Knits

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Corona: Memory Lane

It was seven years ago today that I posted my completed Corona.
2008 on the left, 2015 on the right.
This pattern holds special significance for me. I had already done a bit of knitting and designing. I'd even published a pattern or two. But Corona was my first major foray into design, with my first attempts at grading and real concerted efforts to be A Knitwear Designer.

I've knit it twice for myself, and once for my sister. It's served as a fantastic illustrative tool for ease in knitting, and has been modified in many wonderful ways by many knitters. And ultimately I'd like to think it stands in as an example of my own design philosophy. That is: I want people wearing my designs to feel happy and powerful. Like they can create exactly what they want for their own body no matter their age, shape, or size.

Right now on Ravelry there's over 700 Coronas listed.
Any time I see this, it make me so pleased that I could create something that many knitters have chosen to spend their precious knitting time, energy, and yarn on.

Thanks to everyone; thanks for reading this blog. Thanks for commenting, tweeting at me, interacting on Facebook, purchasing my designs, knitting any of the free ones. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas and projects with me. I appreciate every single one.

And it all started with Corona.

Here's to seven more years with you all.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Jenn Emerson
Rav ID: JennEmerson
Some Great Designs: JennEmerson's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has a mix of women's and kids designs, all really cute, relaxed, and colourful!

First up is Lady Schenley (pictured). HOW CUTE IS THE POCKET! Seriously, you almost have to look for no other reason to want to knit this. But I do have some for you, anyway: there's a kid's version, you have options for pockets or no pockets (choose pockets!), options for sleeve details, and if you so choose, you can have a simple, classic pullover. Super win!

Second, here's an adorable kid's skirt Balletto. Now, I did say kid's skirt, but it does run from size XS - XL, so I hold out hope that perhaps this fantastically be-ruffled riot of fun could fit my grown up self. Check it out at that link. Totally cute, right?

Finally, I'll show you guys her latest design, Collina. This is a simple and striking wrap that uses an overall texture to create interest and a feel of coziness. It seems like the perfect thing to have on hand for snuggling under in chilly times.

Check out the rest of her patterns on her Ravelry designer page!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Announcing: Great Northern

I have some really exciting news.

Leah Coccari-Swift and I are designing a collection of knitwear inspired by the cult-classic tv show Twin Peaks.

The show's atmosphere of unusual characters in a cinematic landscape of twisted archetypes embraced fully a description of mood, personality, and a general mise en scene through wardrobe.  It viewed early 90s fashion through the lens of a small town vintage vibe, with characters reflected through their clothing.

In a word, it's a weird show. In the most fantastic, unusual, scary, funny, mysterious, and intriguing way. I myself have been described as a "stone cold weirdo"; you all know I have an aesthetic that's feminine but gently twisted into bold and wearable knitwear. And Leah's style harmonizes well with mine; she works in exciting colours and shapes, creating design for women that's fresh, fun, and striking.  Together we will create a collection that honours the emotional texture and aesthetic of the show.

We decided to call the collection Great Northern for a few reasons. Mainly, we think it clearly connects to the show, while also indicating our intentions to work from the atmosphere of Twin Peaks, rather than replicate any particular garment.

The collection will include 10 sweaters and a number of small accessories and house wares. It's set to hit the knit world in autumn 2016, with both an ebook AND print version for your delectation.
You can read Leah's thoughts about the collaboration on her blog.

Keep up on the latest news on twitter and instagram with the hashtag #greatnorthernknits.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Leeto: A New Pattern!

It's new pattern time!

This is the first in a two pattern collaboration with Lorna's Laces. Stay tuned next week when I'll be releasing the second pattern.

It’s a headband! It’s earwarmers! It’s a cowl! It’s a bunch of accessories in one! Leeto is fantastic for its adaptability, wearability, portability, and general ability to show off a couple different, beautifully coloured yarns. The sturdy linen stitch makes it easy to flip over and manipulate the fabric into shapes, making it an indispensable accessory for layering in the colder months.

Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted, 100% superwash merino, 225 y / 205 m per 114 g hank, MC: Sandstorm (1 hank), CC: Natural (1 hank)

4.5 mm (US 7) circulars (approx 16” / 40 cm length) or size to obtain gauge

20 sts and 44 rows = 4” / 10 cm in Linen Stitch in the Round
To ensure the best fit, please check your gauge

One size; 8” / 20.5 cm tall and 22” / 56 cm circumference

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Frivolous into Fruitful: Me Made May

I started my little Me Made May journey just about a month ago. All I had in mind at first was a fun instagram challenge, where I'd wear something I'd made (whether it be cross stitched or sewn or knit) each day of the month.

But this initially frivolous exercise did a number of great things over the course of the month.

  • I realized how I've been building my sewing skills since last year
    There were dresses from 2015 and ones from earlier, and I could certainly see my progress!
  • I was pushed to get a bit creative with photography
     I used the apps Fused, Aviary, Rookie, and Insta Picframes
  • I streamlined my wardrobe
    Digging through my knits drawer (well, bins upon bins!), I came across several that just didn't work for me anymore, so I gave away and donated those
  • I embraced a body positive attitude
    Having the camera so often pointed at my face and body forced me to reflect on my own shape and size; there was more than one photo that I thought I shouldn't include because I was embarrassed, but I did anyway and feel stronger for it
  • Ideas surrounding happiness, motivation, power, and control have now entered my thought process when I make
    If someone asked me why I make things before this exercise, I would likely have had only simple responses and amorphous ideas connected to "it's fun!". Now I can respond confidently that my making allows me to express myself visually, provides me a healthy mental challenge, feelings of fulfillment and joy, and an outlet for all my creative energy
The sustained focus on what I have and what I can do has ignited a fire in my belly to refine and make better. So even something that may appear light and silly on the surface can be an opportunity for growth and inspiration.

Recently A Playful Day wrote a fantastic post about creative identity, which in no small part encouraged me to write this post. If this sort of thoughtful reflection sounds attractive, you can indulge yourself along with the community over on her blog, her podcast, and on FB and twitter with the hashtag #creative_identity.

Monday, June 08, 2015

What I'm Working On

SECRET KNITTING! This is for a project that is super exciting and I wish I could share more with you but must limit myself to this photo of some beauty Knits In Class yarn. Look at that twist! Look at that soft, wonderfully warm colour!

I'll let you in on the secret soon.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Lynn Di Cristina
Rav ID: LynnDsStudio
Some Great Designs: LynnDsStudio's Rav Designer Page

Cowls, hats, scarves, oh my!
This week's indie designer Lynn Di Cristina has 40 published patterns on Ravelry, each of which demonstrate a bright playfulness with traditional shapes.
I'll point out three for you.

First here's the pictured Molly Walker, Lynn's most recent design from 2015.
Ever wonder what to do with all that fab variegated yarn you have? Well, this wrap was made for showing it off. I love the boldness of the colours and that edging that just POPS.

Second is Ohyes. I like this hat because it's simple, attractive, light, airy, wearable, and comes with a touching story about loss and courage. A portion of the proceeds goes to raise awareness and give hope for those who suffer from depression and addiction.

And third, I couldn't help but point out one of her patterns inspired by a bird, Gularis. It's a cowl (which I love), and it's designed in a super beautiful colour palette of yellows to oranges.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Skills Expansion: Embroidery and Shading

I'm pretty psyched for this embroidery class I've signed up for.
It's with Follow the White Bunny. Check out her shop, she has some amazing stuff!

The class is on using shading in embroidery. Beginning on the 18th, it's a 4-week online course that will teach you to understand how shading works, the basic shading techniques, and how to choose and use colours and shades effectively. And you get to learn through this fantastic bird and flower pattern. Isn't it gorgeous?

I'm most excited about the possibilities this holds for both transfer to knitting (embroidery on knitting with yarn = exciting!) as well as embellishment on my sewn garments.

Wanna join? It's going to be so much fun!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

TNNA Recap 2015

This past weekend I spent four fantastic days in Columbus Ohio for the TNNA summer show. I've come home with some exciting new ideas and collaborations I can't wait to get working on.
But, let's start at the beginning.

Hamilton to Columbus is a 6.5 hour drive. Not to worry though, cause I came prepared with tunes, bottles of water, and my favourite on-the-road snack, granola bars. When I arrived around 4:00, I settled in the hotel and was shortly thereafter joined by my fantastic roomies Allyson, Heidi, Carina and Leah (a roomie in spirit!).

The rest of the evening we spent eating good eats, drinking yummy beer (more on that later), talking some shop, and checking out some of the newest trends at the fashion show.
I saw a few pieces that were pretty cool (some of the Anzula garments were faves) but I'm surprised and interested to report that there was a rather astonishing number of ponchos. Keep your eyes peeled for these, people! As you all know, I'm pretty bold in my fashion, so I'm rolling the idea of ponchos around in my brain...

Working on something GREAT with Leah!
The next two days I hit the show floor and met with a few collaborators about ideas and projects both in the abstract and concrete.

Some of my favourite booths were Baah Yarns, Anzula, madelinetosh, and Loopy Mango. There seemed to be a little less neon this year, but it was still certainly present.

I had some samples to visit at the show again this year! I spied my Drift's Ridge pullover in the Anzula booth, and two yet-to-be-released cowls in Lorna's Laces. These are coming very soon!

I've come home with so much to show that you'll be hearing a lot more about ideas and items from this trip on the podcast. But I can give you a peek here! There was a whole teepee at the Skacel booth, some cool and promising looking hand/wrist supports, a Midwestern Knits trunk show, and a super cool Charley Harper needlepoint that might have come home with me (despite my not knowing how to do needlepoint...)

I promised I'd talk more about beer, right? Yes. Well, my fellow beer lover Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter let me know about the fantastic app Untappd. Check it out. I input my first couple of beers in Columbus. International beer drinking!

I didn't stay too long on Monday, but I did get quite a bit done! I was able to snag some goodies for a podcast giveaway, and some fantastic Baah yarn for an upcoming design.

The drive back home was pretty great. Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York are all pretty states to drive through. But, as you can imagine, I couldn't snap any pics of the pretty. So, you'll have to do with this one I got at the front gate to my home.