Good morning, lovelies! I have been really busy, guys, but it all seems to be falling in place. I’m so excited to say that I have another pattern to share with you today! A little change of pace for me, this is an accessory. I seem to dream in sweaters but it’s a fun challenge, doing something that requires a little less labor that still packs a punch visually.
This one is called Sphinx and you can find it in the upcoming issue of Knitscene Accessories! Sphinx is a slouchy hat with colorwork and contrasting ribbing, perfect for anyone who’s intimidated by two-color knitting or anyone new to knitting in the round.
The theme for this part of the issue was all about mythology. (Have I ever mentioned that I love themes? I LOVE them. I love the problem-solving they require and I also love how much inspiration they can provide.) So I wanted to go with an Egyptian theme with these jewel tones and clay colors. I think that the Brooklyn Tweed Loft is perfect. Not only are the colors absolutely gorgeous, the heathered hues look really antique.
I’m so excited for this issue of Knitscene. Of course, the photos are just great. I love the styling. As always, I’m part of a great group of designers!
This issue of Knitscene Accessories featuring Sphinx is available for pre-order. But you can buy and download digital copy of the issue right now! So what are you waiting for?
When I heard about The Shepherd and the Shearer, I was all, “Shut up and take my money!” The concept, in short, is a domestic sheep-to-sweater project with two aran patterns by amazing designers Kate Davies and Kristen Kapur. The concept of sheep-to-sweater really had me excited.
We make our clothes so we know the hard work and resources that go into each stitch. But taking that back even further is so interesting. Let’s talk about the mills and the farmers and the sheep themselves! This is something that indie dyers have really embraced (see Jill Draper Makes Stuff) and Brooklyn Tweed has brought it to the mainstream. But we should not forget that even DIY has its roots on a farm, in a mill, and in someone else’s hands.
Susan just announced that there will be another installment of The Shepherd and the Shearer this year. So I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share the gorgeous yarn I received from the project last year.
Each kit came with a pattern book featuring the special designs, a project bag, and some of the yummiest fresh-off-the-sheep yarn. Susan’s concept was not only to give buyers insight into the process but to come out with some real, old-fashioned yarn. This is rugged and hard-wearing, none of that silky, slinky yarn. There’s a time and a place for those soft yarns but this is about wonderful, traditional arans and natural colors.
The yarn came to me with that funky sheep smell, still greasy with lanolin. It really felt like I was getting this straight from the shearer herself. Unfortunately, since receiving the yarn, I haven’t had any time to knit it up. I haven’t even decided which of the two patterns I prefer. But I just love the look of this yarn.
This year, there will be a limited release of The Shepherd and the Shearer so keep your eyes on the Juniper Moon blog for more information. It sounds like they’ve worked some of the kinks out of this massive undertaking including changing mills. I’m excited to see what these designers come up with!
Do you knit sheep-to-sweater? Did you pick up one of these kits last year?
After all of the complaints about startitis last week, I am super excited about what I have to share today! The preview for Pom Pom Quarterly’s summer issue came out on Friday so you can finally get a peek at my first design for their magazine.
Creamsicle is a summery sweater, slightly cropped with half sleeves and a bobble front. You know I love bobbles. I’m always pleased when I can put my personality and style into a piece of knitwear and this vintage-inspired, whimsical top is exactly that.
The sweater is knit with Kettle Yarn Co’s gorgeous Wimbledon yarn which is the most delectable superwash merino I’ve ever laid my hands on. Working with it is a dream and it’s super soft and silky which is perfect for a light sweater like this. Linda is a really fantastic dyer. The colors were beyond anything I could have imagined. I’m obsessed with how the peach and melon work together.
And, of course, I’m just completely over the moon with how amazing the photos are. The ladies at Pom Pom always impress. They really know how to style things perfectly.
The summer issue of Pom Pom Quarterly is available for pre-order right now in both print and digital forms! I definitely think you should pick up a copy and not just for the purposes of shameless self-promotion. All of the patterns in this issue are going into my queue. Speaking of, you can add Creamsicle to your queue and add it to your favorites on Ravelry. Best of all, Kettle Yarn Co has already opened a pre-order for Wimbledon kits so you can have your yarn on hand when the magazine comes out later this month. Did I mention how amazing this yarn is?
Will you be knitting a Creamsicle? Do you love bobbles or do you love bobbles?
Welcome, I’m glad you could all join us for this week’s meeting. Who’d like to share first?
Hi, I’m Sarah. I have Startitis.
Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the fact that I read two issues of Molly Makes and the new Martha Stewart Living while I was off on Wednesday. I want to do everything. I want to renovate an old house and start a garden and build furniture. I just want to make stuff.
I’m so frustrated because I haven’t had any FOs to share in such a long time. I’m working on everything at once so nothing’s done. I’m just wanting to do it all, I’m exploding with inspiration, I’m running in every direction.
Some of this craft mania is due to the fact the weather is changing. I want to be sewing some summer pieces. I want to get rid of everything in my closet and start fresh which adds this urgency to it. I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing when it comes to sewing. I started working on the Wiksten Tova top. It’s kind of a mess but I really don’t want to get into that. I’m making something.
I’m still working on that Grettir sweater for Jon. There’s a lot of stockinette. ‘Nuff said. I have plans to make something for my grandma’s birthday. (And thanks for all of your helpful suggestions!) I still don’t know what it will be. I think I’ll end up working around my stash because I just did some spring cleaning and the amount of yarn I have should be illegal.
And if you follow me on instagram, you know that I’ve picked up my Zelda cross stitch again. It was hidden away for a few months. (Okay, I forgot that I was working on it.) This project has been going forever but I’m actually quite pleased with how far it’s come. I think it’s actually nearing the home stretch. And every time I look at it, I get excited because goddamnit it looks like the real thing! It’s funny, although this has been incredibly tedious and time consuming and I hope I never try this again, I always enjoy coming back to this project. Something about the simplicity of it after doing an intense knit is really satisfying. It’s intricate, I won’t pretend it’s easy but it’s methodical to the point that it’s meditative. And, like I said, look at the result.
So I have a bit of Startitis. I just can’t commit to any one thing. Maybe once I finish something I’ll feel relieved. Maybe I’ll finally be able to figure out what’s next. But until then, I’m just going to keep stitching away.
Because it’s all about the process isn’t it?
Just before the holidays, I went out for fancy drinks with some friends. I had a great time and then something happened that happens to many New Yorkers. I left my hat in the back of a cab. Or maybe I left it on my stool at the bar. Or perhaps it’s floating around in the place where Tina rolled under the bed in my favorite episode of the Twilight Zone also known as the place where adventurous socks disappear to.
Now that wouldn’t be so terrible since that’s how life goes except for the fact that I had been wearing my Olivia sample every day of the season and now I’d lost something I designed and knit myself. I’d never lost something that I knit before, not that I can remember at least. I still have FOs that I made back in high school that don’t fit properly and itch like the dickens but I can’t bear to part with them. I searched all around and came up with nothing. I felt like a real schmuck.
I figured that one day I’d replace it. Maybe in the mean time I’d make something different just to switch things up. Until then, I had some other hats buried in the closet that would be good enough.
But then I got a great surprise. In the mail one day was my hat! Well, not my hat. Even better than that! My mom had knit me a brand new one! It was so perfect, even better than mine. I was so happy, I’ve been wearing it ever since (and being super careful about it). Of course, I always appreciate getting something handmade but it feels really exciting and special that my mom made something for me that I designed. And she’s a pretty great sample knitter to boot!
I definitely don’t knit for my mom enough. She knits for everybody. I really admire how much work she puts into a toy that’s going to a coworker’s baby. Knowing that she stressed over perfecting each stitch for me warms my heart as much as my head! I think she deserves a special knit, too.
This has been a long time in the making but I have a really exciting announcement today! After months of work, I’m ready to introduce to you to Bridge and Tunnel Yarns!
Inspired by the subways of New York City, this yarn is spun from 100% American angora rat fur. Angora rats are incredibly friendly and clean. They are terribly smart! I think they’re going to be the next big thing in knitting. Super soft and durable, our first base is a lofty fingering weight perfect for socks and shawls.
When I first met some happy angora rats and pet their luxurious fur, I was captivated by the idea of making yarn! I’ve partnered with Moonflower Ranch, a sustainable angora rat farm located in western Pennsylvania, as well as the 100-year-old, family-owned Quickspring Mills in New Hampshire.
Hayleigh, owner of Moonflower Ranch, has told me all about the tradition of rat shearing. This almost-forgotten domestic art is gaining a new following with the homesteader movement. While the numbers of angora rat shearers and spinners has grown, it’s always been a very homemade operation. It’s never been done on a scale like this but the yarns will still be more “small batch” as we grow.
In case you haven’t caught on already, April Fools! That’s actually Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud Lace Yarn. I wouldn’t really ask you to knit with rat fur.
I mean, would you?
Let me be honest with you. When I wrote about how I wanted to bring Timberline on vacation with me and have this really complicated project to focus on, I was lying. I didn’t know it at the time because I was lying to myself and I ended up lying to you, too. (Please forgive me.) Every time I’ve thought about working up a swatch for that sweater since my first attempt, I get a little dizzy. Maybe I was hoping someone would talk me out of it.
I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t confident enough to move ahead with that cardigan. I think it’s more of a commitment issue than an actual fear of the pattern. I’ve knit aran sweaters before. Now just isn’t the right time. I’m just not excited about it and I can’t get started unless I’m really psyched out of my mind. I’m ok with that. All in good time.
Of course, that means that I had to admit to Jon that he wasn’t going to get a Timberline any time in the near future. I think he was a little bummed. This boy loves cardigans. But I have something else up my sleeve.
While I was browsing the Brooklyn Tweed site a few weeks ago, Jon caught a glimpse of Grettir over my shoulder and made me show him all of the photos. Then he forgot that he’d pointed it out to me. But I remembered and I decided that he should have this sweater in his wardrobe. I love colorwork and I haven’t knit that many circular-yoke sweaters so this will be fun. Besides, it’ll look really handsome on him and it’s very different from the rest of his clothing.
I stuck pretty close to the sample pallet. I decided to go with Cascade 220 instead of Brooklyn Tweed for some budgetary reasons but also because my LYS didn’t have all of the grey shades of Shelter in stock. Really, I fell for this blue-grey for the main color. It’s really a pewter which is one of my favorite colors.
Jon did seem a little disappointed that the main color yarn isn’t heathered the way that Shelter is. (He asked, “How will you get those dots in it?” to which I answered, “Uh…it won’t.”) But I’m confident it’ll still be a beautiful sweater. He’s pretty easy to knit for, not afraid of color or being bold. He’s a pretty stylish guy.
What do you think? Am I chickening out? Do you prefer colorwork or cables?
I have always been really obsessed at peeking into other people’s sketchbooks. I love to see how artists think and how their process evolves. I even like looking at my old sketchbooks just to have the memory of the challenge and the excitement. I don’t do much drawing anymore but I do have a journal that’s filled with ideas for knitwear.
When I started working on The Crash, the furry loop stitch concept was fresh in my mind. I was feeling really inspired by what I was seeing people wear on the street. I started drawing out some ideas for how to make that real. A lot of it was absurd capelets that would be impossible to wear let alone knit but I just kept drawing it over and over again, tweaking it here and there and ended up with this.
This was the first real incarnation of the sweater in my mind. I like to write lots of notes to myself. Everything is pretty specific even when I don’t know what I want. The loopy shoulders were so vivid in my mind. There are lots of shoulder drawings in there, just trying to figure out how it all should fit together.
I remember thinking about doing a simple moss stitch sweater under the shoulder pads. I also played around with the idea of a cabled aran sweater. In the end, I kind of split the difference with the masculine diamond motif.
As you can see, it stayed pretty true to itself from beginning to end. Once I know what I want, I have a hard time moving away from that, even when I know that there are other options that will work just as well. While that sounds lovely, it was a real challenge since this piece is so wild. I really wasn’t sure how to make the shoulders work and fit but I had a picture in my mind of that final product.
I’m still filling up my notebook with sweaters. Sometimes it drives me crazy! I wish I had time to take them off the page! It’s way easier to scribble out a hat than it is to sit down and make it real. But, for me, putting pen to paper is the best way to make an idea grow.
Do you sketch your knitting? How do you plan designs?
You’ll never forget your first.
I started knitting ten years ago. I jumped right in making things for my friends. I like to think that I was a quick study. Probably because, before that, I learned the very basics when I was eight years old. My mom taught me garter stitch when I was in fourth grade. She did all of the casting on and binding off but she taught me the knit stitch and I made this.
It’s not very impressive. I believe it ended up being a blanket for my favorite stuffed animal. It certainly grew in places, probably due to the yarn overs placed arbitrarily throughout. It’s made from some leftover Red Heart Super Saver so it doesn’t feel particularly nice. It was something to keep me occupied when I could draw, another way to make things. It is what it is.
I’ve taught countless people to knit since this unfortunate blob happened. “You should see the first thing I ever made,” I’ve told each and every one of them with the memory of this piece still fresh in my mind. When I was cleaning out my childhood bedroom over the weekend, I found it. I knew it was still in my parents’ house somewhere. (We have a hard time parting with things.) And I’m so glad it still exists.
If I had a studio, I’d hang it on the wall. Look at how far I’ve come! Look at how much there is to learn! Look at how satisfying it is to make things with your hands!
What’s the first thing you ever knit? How did it turn out?
When we last saw our hero, she was going through a rough patch with a swatch. Can you believe it’s been over six months since I made my first attempt at Timberline? I have good excuses for not getting back to it (see here and here) but to be completely honest, I was intimidated and frustrated and I gave up a little bit.
It seems like Jon has asked me every day this year when his sweater would be coming. What about a nice raglan or an Icelandic yoke sweater? I even tried to tide him over with a pair of socks. No, this boy will not forget about the 2000 yards of Shelter that’s hiding under the bed.
I think it’s time that I give this sweater a second chance.
I’m going on a short vacation next month and I’m super excited about it. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll be a good time to start working on any new designs (though I have ideas coming out my ears right now). Now, the crazy part of me thinks that this is a perfect opportunity to knock out some big chunks of this sweater. Why not? I know it sounds totally crazy to schlep an intensely cabled sweater piece on vacation but I feel like it’ll be a great time to just focus on knitting and not worry about getting laundry done or waking up for work in the morning. At least it’ll give me something to focus on while I’m in the air (I hate the whole flying experience from definitely probably getting cancer in those full-body scanners to everyone in the airport hating you to the roller coaster feeling of take offs and landings). I’ll have some unadulterated time with my needles and no one can tell me otherwise when I’m on my own vacation thankyouverymuch.
Now, the rational part of me thinks that I’ll become terribly claustrophobic and frustrated when I mess up a cable six times on the plane. I won’t be able to get up and take a lap or lie on the floor as I like to do when knitting isn’t working out so I’ll end up stabbing my boyfriend with a knitting needle. Then I will be arrested and probably put on the no fly list (not really a loss there) and maybe a pair of socks would be nicer?
OF COURSE, I could always bring a sleeve AND a sock. Why not both?
Anyway, I have about a month to plan but if I’m taking this show on the road, there is yarn to be wound and some SERIOUS swatching that needs to happen.
What do you think? Do you pack small projects or go all in? Also, somewhat related, any book suggestions for the beach? (I like mysteries, cults, pirates, and young adult dystopias.)