Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Blowing Snow Cardigan

Today is my stop on the Midwestern Knits blog tour train. Hooray, Midwestern Knits!

When the call for submissions came out for this book over a year ago, I may have squeeeeed a bit. Even though I haven't lived in the Midwest in years, it's still a big part of who I am! I submitted some ideas, got accepted, went through the total agony of a Kickstarter (checking on the total every 5 minutes like a teenage girl on Snapchat), got some glorious yarn, knitted a cardigan, and here we are: book. Eeeee! Still can't get over the fact that I contributed something meaningful to a real live book. I love books.

I originally designed this to be a pullover, but after some consultation with Allyson, one of the editors, we decided that a cardigan would be better... and I'm so glad we did. As a pullover it might have been a bit weird. As a cardigan, I want to wear it everyday. I think that's why there's been a lot of love for this design- it's super wearable, especially in a neutral color like this. I've heard a lot of knitters say they're thinking of making one in gray- an excellent idea, and one I might have to steal someday when I have some of that elusive non-design knitting time.

This is actually a pretty straightforward knit. Unlike lots and lots of my other designs. The stitch pattern is easy enough for tv knitting, but interesting enough that it's not boring. The sleeves are knitted from stitches picked up around the armholes, so the only seams are the shoulder joins, and that's done with a three-needle bind off so I don't even think it counts. The shawl collar is excellently deep and cozy due to the short-row shaping. Which is not scary at all. 

If you feel like camaraderie makes the best knitting, then think about joining in on the Blowing Snow KAL! It's happening in the Midwestern Knits group on Ravelry here. I really can't wait to see some projects start showing up! Not many things make me happier than when knitters make my designs.

Want to use the same yarn I used in the sample? You can get a kit here in the Happy Go Lucky Yarn Etsy shop, and it's even on sale! I can personally vouch that this yarn is deliciously soft and squooshy.

Want to win a copy of the pattern? (Or, if you already have the book, I'll sub a copy of any of my self-published patterns, which can be seen here.) Just leave a comment for a chance to win! I'll randomly pick a winner on September 7th!

Here's a blog tour schedule so you can check out the rest of the posts. I already posted this once but my blog, my rules, so here it is again. Happy knitting!

Blog Tour Schedule:
Aug 17: Launch: MidwesternKnits.com
Aug 19: YarnTalk Show
Aug 21: @FrenchPressKnits on Instagram

Aug 26: DoogKnits
Aug 28: @ChooseBatman on Instagram

Aug 31: Knitspot
Sept 1: Cosmos and Cashmere- that's me!

Sept 9: @juriface on Instagram
Sept 10: Brown Sheep Blog

Sept 14: Weaver Knits
Sept 16: Subway Knits

Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Sockupied Fall 2015

photo credit: Sockupied/Harper Point Photography

A while ago, a designer friend and I got to talking about hobbies. Doing what we do is tricky, because knitting started out as a hobby for all of us but now, it’s our work. My friend was saying that for her, because knitting is no longer a hobby, she took up cross stitch, and I said that for me, sock knitting is my hobby. Socks specifically because I don’t design them, and I’ve got a lovely collection of sock yarn, so I get to make socks just for me, for fun. In my head I can separate Work Knitting from Sock Knitting, so it feels like Not Work, and I have totally different mentalities when knitting socks than when knitting work stuff. I love making socks. I haven’t had time to knit socks in months because I got myself into some deadline situations, but I think that really soon, I can cast on a new pair. I am SO EXCITED. I got out all of my sock yarn the other day and petted it, thinking about which one I wanted to knit with first. So when I was offered a review copy of the Fall issue of Sockupied, I thought, “Perfect timing. There’s probably a sock pattern in there I’ll want to make, so yes! More socks!”

This is a lovely digital magazine. I do love magazines. I think I get like 10 different magazines as subscriptions. My husband says they appeal to my short attention span, but what does he know. I just like them. This magazine has two articles, including a rather educational one about the history of Russian socks, and 6 sock patterns for a whole range of skill levels. (Side note: I say “skill levels”, but I don’t like that term- I believe that any knitter can make any thing she wants, so long as she’s willing to learn along the way. So we’ll say “challenge options” instead of “skill levels.”) There are two colorwork patterns, one lace, two knit-purl, and a cabled pattern- a really excellent variety. 

Hominy Socks
photo credit: Sockupied/Harper Point Photography

My favorite type of socks to knit are simpler socks. If you know my crazypants style of design work then you probably think this is lies. I’m just happier making plainer socks! It should be no surprise, then, that the pattern I like best in this issue is the pattern geared towards beginners- the simpler knit-purl Hominy Socks by Marie Godsey. I think those will be my next socks. A word of caution: these socks are only written for one size. That's not a problem for me, because I (ahem) never actually follow sock patterns, and I almost always change the stitch count of socks to suit me. BUT: I could see how new sock knitters might be put off by the one size only. (The rest of the patterns are written for at least 3 sizes, and Kate Atherley's pattern is written for SIX sizes because that's how she does.)

I do really like the cover pattern- the colorwork Electrostatic Lines Socks by Jennifer Raymond- and I could possibly see knitting them with black and orange as Halloween socks or something, but probably not as knee socks. This is Louisiana. I have no need for knee socks. But regular length Halloween socks? Yes indeedy. 

Electrostatic Lines Socks
photo credit: Sockupied/Harper Point Photography

Also nice about this magazine: there's a glossary at the end with instructions for Jeny's Surprising Stretchy Bind Off, Judy's Magic Cast On, and the Kitchener Stitch, among other useful things. Most likely you, like me, cannot seem to remember one or more of these things no matter how many times you do it, so it's really great to have the instructions right there with the sock patterns.

My only deal with this magazine is that the socks I like are only written for one size, but I'm experienced enough that I can deal with that. Overall, the verdict on this magazine: it's terrific. If you love socks, Sockupied is right up your alley. If you'd like to get a copy for yourself, here's where you can do so- for only $11.99, which is a steal when you consider what one sock pattern would cost you on Ravelry. And now if you'll excuse me, I need to go get out all of my sock yarn and arrange it by color on the floor. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Yarn Talk-New Book-Lots of Excitement

I don't know if you've heard yet, but the book I'm part of (!!!), Midwestern Knits, was released yesterday. It's all just been TERRIBLY EXCITING over here, even though the copy of my book hasn't come in the mail yet- boo. But I do have my copy of the e-book, and I'll admit that I nearly cried when I looked at it on my pooter. It's so pretty. So, so pretty. My pattern from the book, Blowing Snow, has proven really popular on Ravelry so far- there is almost nothing better than seeing knitters get excited about your design. Eeee!! I can't wait until someone starts knitting it. I think there's actually a KAL (knit-a-long to all the Muggles out there) starting sometime in September.

As part of the blog tour for the new book, I got interviewed by editor Allyson Dykhuizen for her podcast Yarn Talk as the Designer Crush.... talk about flattering! If you want to see me jabber about my design and get a glimpse of my super huge, super fluffy cat/teddy bear hybrid, head on over to www.yarntalkshow.com and check it out. I hope I didn't say anything stupid. Eesh. You can also win a copy of my pattern, or, if you already have a copy of the book, you can win a copy of any of my other patterns, winner's choice.

The link below will take you directly to the pattern giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to check out the rest of the blog tour, here's a schedule. I'll be back on September 1st to talk more about my design!

Blog Tour Schedule:
Aug 17: Launch: MidwesternKnits.com
Aug 19: YarnTalk Show
Aug 21: @FrenchPressKnits on Instagram

Aug 26: DoogKnits
Aug 28: @ChooseBatman on Instagram

Aug 31: Knitspot

Sept 9: @juriface on Instagram
Sept 10: Brown Sheep Blog

Sept 14: Weaver Knits
Sept 16: Subway Knits

Sunday, August 2, 2015

New Pattern: Oileán Hat

I'm having A Thing with Fair Isle right now. 

Oileán (pronounced ill-lawn) is a modern, bold Fair Isle hat for the whole family. I knitted a baby-sized hat on a whim a few weeks ago, because we were going to visit some good friends who are expecting. Usually I make babies a Viking Hat, but I just wanted to mix it up a bit. I had just gotten a vintage Fair Isle book in the mail, I had a bag of worsted leftovers and a free evening, and ta-da! Modern Fair Isle baby hat. I fully intended to give the hat to our friends, but once it was finished, I couldn't. I loved it so much that I knew it had to be a design. So the next night, I dug out the larger bag of worsted leftovers and made a me-sized version. 

And now it's my newest pattern. The pattern is written for Baby through Adult Large, so you can make a hat for everyone in your life! 

One thing to note: three rounds at the beginning and three rounds at the end of the color work motif have three colors per round. It's not as scary as it sounds, and there's a note in the pattern to walk you through it. Yay, a challenge! Because the color work requires so little yarn, this is a great use of all that leftover worsted. I have a large tote bag full of partial balls of Cascade 220 and Knit Picks WofA. Always looking for more uses for that bag! 

Baby, Toddler, Kid, Teen/Adult S, Adult M, Adult L
Finished Circumference: 14.5 (16, 17.5, 19, 20.25, 22) inches/ 37 (40.5, 44.5, 48, 51.5, 56) cm, to be worn with 1-2 inches/ 2.5-5 cm of negative ease.

Cascade 220; [100% Wool; 220yd/201m per 100 g skein];
Baby Hat Shown in:
Main Color (MC): 8505 White: 1 skein
Contrast Colors: 7827 Goldenrod, 9421 Blue Hawaii, 8555 Black, 9404 Ruby; small amount of each
Adult M Hat Shown in:
Main Color (MC): 7818 Blue Velvet, 1 skein
Contrast Colors: 8505 White, 9421 Blue Hawaii, 7802 Cerise, 7803 Magenta; small amount of each

Until August 7th, get this pattern for just $2.50 on Ravelry. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Pattern: Olmsted Pullover

Just what you wanted right in the middle of summer! A new pullover pattern!

Poor timing aside, this is Olmsted. It's a top-down seamless pullover, and it's pretty much a fancy sweatshirt. A bit of a looser fit plus a slight A-line shape means it's comfy and easy to just toss on with jeans. The sleeve caps and shoulders are shaped with short rows, as is the high-low hem. Double seed stitch and cable panels decorate both front and back and the whole business is finished off with garter stitch. 

Can we talk about the yarn? I think it's no secret that I love Knit Picks, and I think that Swish worsted might be my very favorite. Although I really love Stroll... but Swish! It's soooo soft, and it comes in a bajillion colors. Holds up well, too, which is not always the case with a superwash yarn. 

Someone on Twitter asked me how one would modify the neckline of this sweater. It's actually a lot easier than most of my other patterns! Look for a blog post on that topic soon. 

Want to knit your own? Get the pattern on Ravelry for just $4 until August 7th.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Holla Knits Summer 2015 Magazine!

I was super excited when Allyson- editor of Holla Knits- emailed several months ago and asked if I'd like to write an article for the summer issue of Holla Knits because oh yeah, it's a full on magazine now, with tutorials, a letter from the editor, and everything. Super excited! I've never really thought of myself as a real writer before, but seeing something I wrote in a magazine- I believe. I knew right away that I wanted to share a slightly embarrassing, though lovely and heartwarming, story about my first-ever knitting project. If you're familiar with my designs, then you know that they can be a bit.... well, crazypants. See: the Duck Hat, Everett Henley (my first sweater design, because I am nuts), and just wait until you see what I'm working on for Holla Knits for this winter. Nuts. Read my story about the first thing I picked out to knit and I think you'll see why I am the way I am. You can get a copy of the fantastic magazine, which also has 6 awesome summer patterns to knit, here. Teresa Gregorio and Emma Welford wrote something too, because they are also awesome.

After you read my little story, you'll surely want to knit something from the magazine, because duh, it's Holla Knits and EVERYTHING is awesome! (I recognize that I just used "awesome" about 6 times in the last 4 sentences, but I have that lego song in my head so we all have to suffer.) All of the designs are great, but this one is my favorite, and it's already in my Ravelry queue:

Annapolis by my invisible internet friend Kristen Jancuk (mediaperuana on Twitter)

That stitch pattern! Ahh! I could see wearing this sweater a lot. I've got some mint green yarn in my stash that might be perfect... and I'm weirdly super obsessed with mint green right now.

Also, because it's not a blog tour stop without a giveaway, wanna win a pattern from the issue? Comment and tell me which pattern you're dying to knit, and you could win a copy! Be sure to leave some way for me to contact you- email, Rav ID, Twitter handle, something. And then check out the rest of the blog tour for even more giveaways. Oh, and you might want to subscribe to the magazine so that you get my nutso winter pattern as soon as it's released... I think you'll want to make what I'm cooking up. :)

Leave a comment by Tuesday, June 30th. I'll announce a winner on Wednesday July 1st!

June 16: The Sweatshop of Love- pattern giveaway
June 17: Klever Knits- pattern giveaway
June 18: Canary Knits - Travel knitting & mag giveaway
June 22: MediaPeruana - pattern giveaway
June 24: YarnGasm - Knitting with Voolenvine Podcast- magazine giveaway
June 25: Cosmos and Cashmere - pattern giveaway
June 26: Midwest Yarn - pattern giveaway
June 29: Emma Welford  - pattern giveaway
July 2: Canary Knits- Beach House styling & giveaway

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Pattern: Diamond Lattice Mittens

Once again with a non-seasonal new pattern. Hey, some people live where it's cold year-round, right?

These are the Diamond Lattice Mittens. I found this stitch pattern in one of my stitch dictionaries- favorite reading material ever- and I knew right away that this pattern was meant to be mittens. The mittens are otherwise basic: ribbed cuff, thumb gusset, nice rounded top, but the slip-stitch pattern really jazzes things up, right? I mean, why make plain mittens when you can make diamond-y mittens? It's an easy pattern to work, especially if you've ever cabled without a cable needle- these are the same idea. A pair of mittens takes about 150 yards of worsted-weight yarn. I used Malabrigo Worsted for the sample because I will come up with any excuse to use Malabrigo Worsted. It's like knitting with a cloud.

My pattern testers felt that this was a great pattern for a highly variegated yarn. Check out their projects here- they were totally right.

Two sizes, women's small/medium and women's large. Finished hand circumference for the smaller mittens is 7.75 inches, and it's 8.75 inches for the larger size. 

Needles: US 6 and US 7 dpns.
Gauge: 20 sts and 28 rows = 4" in stockinette on larger needles

Want to make a pair for yourself? Until June 20th, get the pattern for 40% off the usual price of $4. Take advantage!