Saturday, May 23, 2015

Another Designer's Pattern

Recently, I read a blog post from another designer about how important it is for us, as designers, to knit other designers' patterns. While I totally agree (it's a great way to learn more about construction, pattern writing, get new ideas, etc.), this is FAR easier said than done. I don't have the luxury of hiring a sample knitter, as badly as I want to, so I knit all of my samples myself. It takes up very nearly all of my (limited, with the job) knitting time. I come across patterns that I love and want to knit all the time, but I just file them away in my "someday" queue, knowing full well that it's actually a "only in my head and never for reals" queue.

Well, I got sick of that. I saw this pattern (Beatitude by Katy Banks) in a Knit Picks catalog last fall and was instantly obsessed with it. Like, leave-the-catalog-open-to-that-page-and-leave-it-lying-around-so-I-could-see-it obsessed. I broke down. I bought the yarn. I carved out some knitting time. I STARTED ANOTHER DESIGNER'S PATTERN. And honestly? I need to always have another designer's pattern on the needles. This sweater is my mental break from whatever else I'm working on- I don't have to do any math, or make sure the charts line up, or anything else I have to do when I'm knitting my own designs- and I love it.

It's a top-down yoked cardigan with a steek- this will be my first time steeking, and I admit I'm a bit terrified. I'm at the point now where there are something like 500 stitches in each round, so it's going a bit slow. Also, I don't often get more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time to work on it, so that's probably contributing more to the slow. I think I'm like an inch away from dividing for the sleeves, and honestly, I don't think there's any better feeling than dividing for the sleeves in a top-down sweater. I might truck on today so I can get to that point and rejoice in my knitting prowess. Also I don't have any major designs on the needles, so I can knit on this and not feel guilty! (Who am I kidding, I'll feel guilty anyway. Designer's guilt: it's a disease.)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

New Pattern: Tullamore Cardigan

I know that it's not a great time of year to release a heavily cabled cardigan pattern, but here we are. I got the yarn for this beauty in late December, then I swatched. And swatched. And swatched some more. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy, a personal favorite, in a beautiful golden colorway called Amber Glass, and it's.... thin. Oddly thin. More like a DK than the worsted it's supposed to be. I ignored that fact for far too long while I tried to make the swatches work, because it seemed so weird that the yarn would be different that I just sort of assumed that it was me who wasn't working. Stupid, really, because once I accepted the fact that the yarn was thin, and treated it as such, the knitting went a LOT faster.

I knitted this cardigan in pieces and seamed them together. I admit that it's not my favorite way to design, but I wanted to branch out.

Each piece is cabled with a variation on the back panel; the sleeves and front each have just one of the circle-y cables, and the back has three. I love, love, love this design. Despite taking ages and ages to finish, and having to rip it out about a million times, I still love it.


The Tullamore Cardigan (Ravelry link)

Skills needed: Long tail cast on, cabling with or without a cable needle, increases and decreases, seaming, picking up stitches.

Ladies’ S (M, L, XL, 2X, 3X)

Finished Measurements:
Full bust: 37 (40, 43, 46, 49, 52)
To fit bust sizes 33-36 (36-39, 39-42, 42-45, 45-48, 48-51)
To be worn with 1-4 inches of positive ease in the bust. Shown in size 40 with approximately 3 inches of positive ease.

Dream in Color Classy; [100% Merino; 250yd/229m per 113 g skein]; Color: Amber Glass; 5 (6, 6, 7, 7, 8) skeins
Note on the yarn: see above comments about this particular lot's thickness. I would recommend a DK yarn instead, unless you also have a lot of thin Classy. Everlasting DK is a good choice for a sub.

Until April 30th, get the pattern for $4.50 on Ravelry. After that I'm bumping it up to its regular price of $6.50. EU knitters can get the pattern on Love Knitting as usual.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sockity Sock Socks.

I don't have particularly small feet, but every time I knit socks for myself (which is every time I knit socks, really... I don't give away knits well) I end up with quite a lot of leftover yarn. Not saying this is a bad thing, but after awhile the sock yarn bin starts to overflow and action must be taken. Rainbow sock action.

This is all yarn leftover from various sock projects over the past few years. I know that I'm not really using much up, but I at least feel like I'm making progress on the "using stuff up" front.

I made one rainbow sock, but then I had to go on an emergency trip, and the rainbow socks were not ideal plane knitting. So, here's a bit of another sock.

This is a couple inches of a Froot Loop sock from Knitty. I'm using my oldest stash sock yarn- something I dyed from my brief dyeing streak of 2010. It's a little blue for my taste so I might give the finished socks a bath in green dye, just to make them more of a teal color. I think I would like that better. The pattern's a little weird, but it's fairly easy to work. Just twisted stitches and purls. I'm in no hurry to finish either pair of these socks, because it's been north of 85 degrees here every day in recent memory, and I'm sticking to my chair right now. My hair is fluffy from all the humidity and I haven't slept with any blankets in weeks. I don't think I'll be needing new socks anytime soon.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Like I Have the Time

Beatitude Cardigan by Katy Banks... picture borrowed from the KP website

I don't know if you spend a lot of time on the Knit Picks website, but I find myself there often. Sometimes I'm looking for inspiration, sometimes I'm picking out colors for a submission, sometimes I'm dreaming about things that I don't have time to knit. I noticed a couple months ago that they were doing a monthly yarn sale- 20% off a specific yarn each month. I don't remember what the yarn was these past few months, but this month, it's Palette. Palette happens to be the yarn called for in the Beatitude Cardigan from the recent Fair Isle collection- I have been obsessed with that cardigan since the collection came out. Like, really obsessed. I thought about buying a kit the second I saw that pattern, but I was like no, there's no time to knit it, it'll just sit in my sewing room for ages and make me sad. But then- Palette sale. Guess what I've got in my sewing room now?

Yep. Yarn for the Beatitude Cardigan. I will make time for this pattern, I swear. I want that cardigan in my closet in the worst way.

I'm pretty much just going to copy the sample. Main color is Oyster Heather, and for the contrast I'm using Raspberry Heather and Conch. I already had the Conch so it was just a matter of choosing a darker coral. Love these colors together. Now, to find time to swatch. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I'm in Knitscene!

This amazingness arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Yep. That's my pattern in the new Knitscene. I squealed pretty loud... might have scared the neighbors.

This is the Ouverte Tee from the Summer Knitscene. It's part of the dance story that grew out of a geometric call for submissions. I lurves the way they modeled it- and that it's the cover pattern for the story. :) I intended it to be a layering piece, so I love the way they showed it over a dance outfit. I think that I would be less bold and layer it over a cami, but I sure love the blue. And that hairstyle. Bold.

The Ouverte Tee is really a pretty simple idea. Knitted from the bottom up in an all-over easy lace pattern, with cap sleeves that are shaped with a few increases. Twisted rib at the bottom, neckline, and sleeves keeps things tidy. It's meant to be worn with a few inches of positive ease- I think the model is wearing it with 2.5 inches of ease. Easy, quick, great for summer. I knitted the sample with Valley Yarns Goshen- a worsted weight cotton/modal/silk blend that's great for warmer weather knits. I can't wait to get the sample back- it's so freaking hot here in the Deep South that this type of knit is exactly what I need for a lot of the year.

This is my second print magazine publication (the first was Coronis in Pompom Quarterly last fall.) It's the most amazing feeling to see my work and name in print. Addicting, one might say. Must. Have. More. Subs. Accepted.

It's a long process, publishing in a magazine. I submitted this idea last summer- maybe in June? It was accepted at the very beginning of August- I remember because my issue of PPQ came out the very same day. That was a darn good day. I got the yarn in late August, sent the sample to the magazine in late September, then just waited. Lots of waiting. I think we did tech editing in January, then I got to see the pattern laid out in the magazine in maybe early March, and now- it's really real. Squee!! I can't wait until projects start popping up on Ravelry.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

New Pattern: Lagniappe Gloves!

When I started my new job at the beginning of February, I was absolutely convinced that my design work wouldn't change at all. "I'm only working 75% time," I thought, "so there will be tons of hours leftover every day for designing and knitting samples!"


I've been working on this one cardigan sample for my whole life, and it took me over a week to get the second glove done of a pair. I haven't knitted myself a pair of socks in nearly 2 months, I'm constantly out of clean clothes, and I'm seriously considering hiring a housekeeper. Why did I think nothing would change? Did I think I was a superhuman, to whom rules like "time" don't apply? I can't believe how unrealistic my design goals were. Nothing to do about it now, but sheesh. Totally off.

Anyway! I designed something! These are the Lagniappe Gloves. They started life as a pair of socks. I have never made cabled socks, despite my intense love of cables, so I started these one night as my "fun knitting." I got about 2 inches in an realized that they would never fit over my heel, but knitting time is so precious that I couldn't bear to rip and restart... so I stuck the "sock" on my wrist. It fit perfectly, and ta-da! A new glove pattern.

Lagniappe is a Louisiana word meaning "a little something extra." Like if you plant tulip bulbs and they bloom once, then miraculously bloom again the next year (they're not supposed to down here), that's lagniappe. You get an extra beignet in your bag- lagniappe. The pretty cable pattern on an otherwise simple glove- you got it, lagniappe.

The gloves are written for three sizes, and are a great use of sock yarn if you're not into knitting socks.

Finished Measurements: 
Cuff Circumference: 6.5 (7, 7.5) inches 
Palm Circumference Above Thumb: 7 (7.75, 8.25) inches
The yarn used for the sample was hand-dyed by me. You will need about 210 (230, 255) yards of fingering weight sock yarn.
Until March 31st, get the pattern for just $2.50 on Ravelry!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Patternfish designer and a new job

I don't know if you've heard of the online pattern store called Patternfish, but if you haven't... there's another online pattern store out there, and it's called Patternfish. :) It's unlike Ravelry in that one has to apply to be able to sell patterns in their store. Around Christmas time, when I was in the midst of a huge despair-fest about the new VAT tax and how it's horrible for one-person businesses like myself, I stumbled onto Patternfish, and realized that they deal with VAT for you, unlike Craftsy and Etsy. So I applied, was one of 10 designers accepted for January, added my patterns, and am now a featured designer for February! Hooray!

There's a little blurb about me at the bottom of this (quite long) newsletter

In other news, you may have noticed that I haven't been around a lot lately. On February 2nd, I started a new job at LSU. I love, love, loved being a full-time designer, but the mortgage did not, and I admit that I've been really lonely for awhile now. I need to talk to people during the day! A science job literally just fell into my lap, so I figured that the universe was telling me that now's the time. The nice thing is that I'm only working 75% time, so I (in theory) still have some time to design without sacrificing things like having a clean house, and cooking dinner every night. I mourn the loss of my freedom, and it sucks to have to scale back my design work, but it's also great to be able to go shopping and not worry about the money. I can't tell you how great it would be if designers actually got paid a fair wage for what we do, but that's a rant for another day. 

So! Geaux Tigers, and hooray Patternfish!