New pattern! I'm done with my masters degree, and using my new found free time to dive back into knitting. Specifically, Fair Isle!
Out September 4, the 2012 edition of Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts.
Included in the magazine is my Snow Bird Stocking, a design inspired by Nordic decorative arts.
Birds perch at the top of the stocking,
above a field of stars and vines on the front side; the stripes on the back side of the
stocking are an abstract rendering of bird prints in the snow. Duplicate stitch accents (in green) are added to the design after knitting.
The stocking was knit with MillaMia Naturally Soft Merino, and measures approximately 16" around and 20" long--big enough to fill with lots of goodies!
I haven't been posting much, but I have been a busy knitter. In addition to quite a few designs for various publications, yarn companies, sock clubs, etc, I have a couple new patterns for my line.
The first is the (almost) Instant Baby Cardigan (modeled by my friend's adorable little lady, Odella). Knit with a single skein of Malabrigo Yarn's Rasta, this sweater can be knit up in an afternoon. The pattern is sized for 2-5 months (depending on the size of the baby), and can be adjusted by changing the yarn weight and needle size.
Also recently published, the Go Anywhere Gloves, which originally appeared in my book The Knitting Man(ual). The book is now out of print (but still available online and at many yarn shops). I will be releasing patterns from the book as pdf's over the coming year or so.
Knit with Koigu KPPPM, the gloves can be knit as shown above, with open-fingers, or fingerless.
Finished hand circumference: 6 1/2 (7 1/2, 8 1/2, 9 1/2)”; sizes S (M, L, XL).
Find these and other patterns in my Ravelry store.
Behind on the blog again. This time around, I'll blame the holiday season and a trip to Hawaii. I spent a week with the family in Hawi, on the northern tip of Hawaii Island (aka the Big Island).
Aside from the beautiful weather, my favorite part of the island was the plant and animal life. Beautiful birds and flowers everywhere, plus these little darlings were abundant at the house where we stayed:
That's a Gold Dust Day Gecko. Isn't he lovely? I have lots more photos to share, once I get around to processing them. Soon, soon...
I did manage to get some knitting done, including developing a new hat pattern. The design was inspired by Fischer, my 7 month old nephew who I met for the first time on this trip. Fischer's parents are commercial fishermen, and Fischer made his first forays into the waters of Alaska shortly after his birth. So this hat is for him. (Yes, I knit him a hat of his own, but he hasn't received it yet, so no pictures of cute babes in fish bone hats just yet.)
Babies involved in commercial fishing being a rarity, Fischer has already received notice for his exploits on the sea.
River is a re-introduction of a pattern originally published by Shibui (the pattern was then called "Stone" after the colorway of the yarn). I've re-christened the pattern "River" as the variegated colors remind me of the Naches River in eastern Washington. I lived right on the Naches for a couple years as a kid, and had many adventures exploring along it's banks. I was pretty sure that I would one day find part of a dinosaur skeleton, or at a least a dinosaur egg, bringing me world fame by age 9. Alas, neither the egg or the bones ever materialized.
About the sweater: River employs manipulation of the variegated yarn by alternating skeins every 2 rows/rounds over the sleeves and back, while using only one skein at a time over the front. This creates a variation in the patterning of the yarn in the different sections of the sweater.
To enhance this effect, the back and the sleeves are worked in a wide rib, while the front is worked in St st.
The neckline is finished with a rolled St st edging for a relaxed look; the sleeves are picked up from the armhole and worked down to the cuff, which reduces bulk at the armhole and makes the sleeve length easily adjustable.
I really do. A sweater worked in the round + St st + small needles = hours and hours of happiness!
I like to knit while listening to music or watching movies or tv series marathons--the Conte Hoodie got me through a significant portion of the entire series run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer--so St st a very suitable companion for me.
Several of my recently published patterns feature lovely long stretches of St st, and I am certain that some people will say (as they have every right to) "Nice design, but no way am I going to do all that plain knitting! So boring!".
I get that. I enjoy a nice bit of lace or colorwork (hey, I love colorwork!) as much as the next knitter, but I like to mix it up with some simply stuff too. Ideally, at all times I have one mindless Stockinette project that I can pick up when my husband says "let's watch Ip Man!", as well as one or two (or three or four) more complex pieces that actually require my mental presence when I work on them.
Sometimes I want a sweater simply to fulfill it's basic function--cover me up and keep me warm--rather than a sweater that makes a statement. And sometimes I want to knit, but I don't want to think about knitting. For those of you who are like me, and relish the thought of lots of St st and a classic, basic garment to add to you wardrobe, I give you Winter.
Originally published as the "Boxy Pullover" by Shibui, I am now making the pattern available via pdf from my Ravelry pattern store. Winter is an easy-fitting pullover with a slightly wide funnel neck in a simple rib variation. The shoulders are shaped with short rows for a more flattering fit, and the sleeves are picked up from the armhole and worked in the round down to the cuff, making the sleeve length easily adjustable and reducing the bulk where the sleeve joins the body.
Basically, this is your classic weekend sweater, the one you throw on when you want to be comfortable but still look respectable.
The yarn is Shibui Baby Alpaca Dk, which comes in some lovely new colors. If I were to make it again, I'd go with Velvet or Granite.
Find Winter on Ravelry here.
I have to add a thanks to my lovely model Kalen, for letting me photograph her in Winter and several other sweaters on a 90 degree afternoon! What a champ!
I have been working on this one a long time, and it's finally ready to go live. As soon as I finish this post, I'll be heading over to Ravelry to publish the pdf.
Read a bit more about the development of the Nordic Christmas stocking here.
Over the past 4 years, this projects has gone through several iterations, with some important lessons learned along the way. The most significant of these being:
-when knitting experts advise that you mustn't switch the positions of your yarns when doing 2-color knitting (you have the main color in your right hand and the contrast color in your left hand, for example), take that advice to heart!
Many years ago I took a 2-color knitting class from Lucy Neatby, and the above was one of the two big pieces of information I took away with me*. I never intended to ignore her advice, however...
I started knitting the very first version of this stocking in 2006. When I was nearing the heel turn, I became really, really sick. Like 102 degree fever sick. So I had to put my knitting aside for a while, as I could hardly sit upright, let alone knit.
Once I started feeling a little better, but not anywhere near fully recovered, I resumed my stocking.
Big mistake. As I was still pretty out of it, I didn't remember (or even consider) which hand held which color previously. I just picked up the stocking, put a yarn in each hand, and started knitting.
It turns out, I swapped the colors. What had been in my right hand switched to my left, and vice versa.
Behold, the result:
See how the stripes change right there at the heel? How the white stripe becomes much more prominent on the lower half? That's because I held the white in my right hand for the first part (the top), then switched it to my left hand (the bottom section).
These next photos are a bit blurry, but you can still see how the main pattern was affected by changing the position of the yarns:
The color that is carried in the left hand travels below the color held in the right hand, and for this reason there the floats created when the color is not in use are a tiny bit longer for the left hand color. This then results in the stitches for the left hand color being ever so slightly bigger, meaning stripes, motifs, etc knitted with the left hand color will be more prominent than those knitted with the right hand color.
You can really see the effects of switching which color goes on which hand when you look at the wrong side of the work:
The point where I switched yarn placement is pretty obvious, is it not?
If this all seems complicated and confusing, here's the simple version:
-decide how you are going to carry your yarns (MC in right, CC in left, etc, according to your 2-color knitting style); write it down on your pattern, and don't switch!
And if you decide to resume an in-progress project when you are still slightly feverish, maybe reconsider? A few more days of recovery probably wouldn't hurt.
*The other biggie I took away from Lucy's workshop was in regards to how floats are handled in stranded color work; specifically, how tacking down floats on the inside of the work impacts the outside of the work. Having never been much for tacking down, I left the workshop feeling fully justified in my knitting style. Thank you Lucy!
On Friday, July 29, there will be a book signing featuring contributors to the new book Knitting Socks from Around the World. The signing is from 4-6pm at the bookstore in the marketplace, with the participating authors signing in two groups; I am in the 4-5pm group.
My contribution to Knitting Socks From Around the World is a Norwegian inspired knee-high sock. The front of the leg features a very traditional rose/star and net motif, while the back of the calf and the sole of the foot feature a herringbone pattern.
My fondness for herringbone motifs stems in part from an appreciation of the juxtaposition of strong geometric patterns with more organic shapes. But it also comes from the association I have of herringbone and Kristiansund, the Norwegian town my father grew up in. More precisely, it reminds me of the klippfisk (dried salted cod) hanging on the outsides of homes in the fishing districts of the town.
The above photo was taken on the island of Grip (really an archipelago, if you want to be fussy about it) where klippfisk is omnipresent.
But back the stocking...
The greatest challenge in designing knee-high socks is the calf shaping--there is a lot of anatomy happening along the length of the calf: from the ribbed area under the knee, the leg grows considerably wider quite quickly to reach the full calf circumference, then narrows down to something like half the calf circumference for the ankle. Complicating matters is the tremendous variety from one human being to the next regarding their individual calf shape. I have skinny ankles but very developed calf muscles and average length legs, so I need a lot of shaping for a well fitting knee-high. Some people have little change from the full calf to the ankle, but is that because they are twiggy for the entire length of the lower leg, or because they have solid, substantial legs? And are the legs long, short, or average?
Sooo...lots of allowances are needed for fitting each person's unique and individual calf shape. To achieve this end, I worked the increases and decreases at the center back calf in pattern, but also included additional gusset panels on either side of the leg.
I very intentionally kept these areas solid, so it will be easy for knitters to customize the stocking, without having to worry about maintaining any two-color patterning. And I like the visual effect of the solid color gusset--it adds another element to the overall design of the stockings.
One more (important!) detail: there is a typo in the book. Sometimes the mistakes are mine, but I'm clear on this one! An error was made in the production process:
In the leg shaping section, the text should say S2KP2 (not S2K2P).
S2KP2 = slip 2 knit wise, one at a time, k1, pass 2 slipped sts over the k1.
I haven't seen the book yet, but I heard from a knitter who wrote that the explanation of the abbreviation was not included in the book.
It's always good to check for errata before starting a pattern. The process of taking a project from inspiration to publication is a long one, and there are many places along the way where mistakes can happen, despite the best efforts and intentions of all parties involved. I'm working on a post on that very subject...
March 2012 Update
The Pioneer Shawl is now available as a pdf download from my Ravelry store.
The shawl will be published by Pico Accuardi Dyeworks, as part of "Created in Oregon: A Knitter's Daybook 2012".
All of the designers who contributed to the daybook were given a concept to work with, and mine was "The Pioneer Trail". In thinking about my theme, I decided that I wanted to make something a pioneer woman could knit and then wear as she traveled through the west. So the design needed to be easily memorized (no complicated charts), easy to customize for different sized bodies, and once finished, had to stay in place. I imagine that pioneer ladies didn't have the luxury of coquettishly adjusting their garments as they went about their labors. For that reason, I decided to do a shawl that would tie around the body.
A little over a year ago, I was given a copy of "Nordic Knitting", an out of print book about Scandinavian knitting. One of the projects in the book that most fascinates me is a tied shawl from Norway:
This shawl starts with the long edge, and almost 600 sts cast on. I have taught enough knitting classes to know that casting on that many stitches is daunting to even the most devoted knitter. The other issue is that casting on at the long edge means that the size can not be adjusted, as the cast on will determine the maximum length of the "tails" (the parts that tie around the body) and the maximum depth of the shawl.
It took a lot of trial and error, but eventually I was able to re-design the shawl so that it starts with a mere 3 sts cast on. I also re-calculated the placement of the increases and created a simple, all-over openwork pattern that is easily memorized so that the knitter can knit away without having to consult the written pattern.
My shawl is reversible, based on a simple yo/k2tog lace, but the RS/WS flips at the center stitch. This creates a subtle textural difference between the right hand and left hand sides of the shawl, and makes it completely reversible.
The shape of the shawl is unusual--like a boomerang, with the tails reaching to the ground when the shawl is untied. This allows it to be comfortably tied around the body. The simplicity of the texture pattern and shaping means that knitters of all shapes and sizes can adjust the shawl to fit their individual body simply by stopping sooner or knitting on longer, no additional calculations needed.
The Pioneer Shawl, laying flat. The 3 co sts are at the center, inner edge.
"Created in Oregon" will be available for purchase August 1, and includes 12 knit patterns from Oregon designers, twelve recipes using local ingredients, lots of Oregon stories and facts.
December 2011 update:
Pico Accuardi Dyeworks has closed its doors; however the datebook should be available via their vendors.
Today I finished the pattern for the Tingvoll Slippers (formerly known as the Zigzag slippers).
Tingvoll is a municipality in the Nordmøre district of Norway, and the place where my husband photographed the door that was the inspiration for the patterning on the slipper. So I thought it was a fitting name.
Some notes about this design:
The Tingvoll slippers are sized by changing the weight of the yarn and size of needles used. Finer yarn and smaller needles will result in smaller slippers; heavier yarn and larger needles will result in larger slippers. For this reason, correct gauge is crucial to knitting a well fitting pair of slippers.
Slippers require @ 30-75 gms each of two colors; exact amount will vary according to fiber content and size made. The size shown (medium, fits my size 9 foot), took about 45 gms each of the red and white yarns (Brown Sheep Company Lamb's Pride Worsted). I have enough yarn left over in each color to make a second pair of slippers.
Generally speaking, one skein of the main color and one skein of the contrast color should be enough to make (at least) one pair of slippers.The Brown Sheep Company Lanaloft Bulky recommended for the large size would make several pairs (or leave plenty of yarn left over to make some hats or a scarf).
For the small, I used Brown Sheep Company Lanaloft Sport Weight. One skein of each color will make a pair, and for most knitters, will probably make two pairs (subtle differences in how people knit can make the difference).
Note that the needle sized used is approximately 2 sizes smaller than that usually recommended for the given yarn. So I knit my slippers on a size 6 (Lamb's Pride usually calls for a size 8). The intention it to create a somewhat tight fabric, which will be warmer and wear better.
Suggested yarns and needles sizes are included in the pattern.
Tingvoll is available from my ravelry store.