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August 26, 2014

New pattern: Willoherb Pullover

I'm really excited to unveil my newest design, the Willowherb Pullover. If you like some of my other designs, you may recognize both the name and motif. I released a Willowherb Hat and Mitten set earlier this year.

This pullover has been tech edited and ready to go for about a month, now, but I've been waiting to release it until today because Kristi's including me in an update. This Thursday, starting at noon, EST, if you buy a sweater's worth of Paulie Worsted, you'll get a coupon for a free copy of this pattern. Plenty more details on the Shalimar update page and in the Shalimar ravelry group.

This pattern is available in 10 sizes, from 32" / 81.5 cm to 60" / 152.5 cm and fits comfortable with a little negative or positive ease. If you are between sizes, you can simply choose a size that suits your personal preference. I'd probably go down to the lower size, but if you like a fit that skims instead of clings, going up to the next size will be your best bet. Either way, I offer plenty of tips along the way, to customize your fit. You'll also find a comprehensive schematic in the pattern. It can be really helpful to measure a well fitting sweater in a similar weight, and compare it to the measurements in the schematic.

The sweater is offered for $8 as a stand-alone pattern or $10.50 if you buy it with the Willowherb Hat and Mitten set. You can either buy the two-pattern ebook, or buy the patterns individually. The discount is automatic and retroactive for customers who bought the hat and mitten set before I released the sweater.

As always, I want you to be happy with any purchase you make from my store. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me and I'll do my best to help you out.

Filed under: knitting , pattern

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August 8, 2014

Heyday in the new Twist Collective

The new edition of Twist Collective came out, last week. Did you get a chance to see it? If not, grab a cup of your favorite warm or cold beverage, and take a few minutes to flip through its virtual pages, because there are so many fantastic pieces. I feel like I can't even pick favorites because I like so many of them for so many different reasons. The shawls, in particular, are really inspiring. Every last one is a winner and they look like they'd be a heck of a lot of fun to knit, too. And if you are a mitten person, especially if you are a colorwork mitten person, I really think you'll love what the designers have come up with. And of course, there are tons of garments, some socks, hats, mitts and cowls. So go take a look.

My piece is called Heyday. It's a sort of yoke/raglan hybrid, with body darts and a split neck. Just a few short rows over each sleeve, help shape the yoke around the shoulders. A simple cable/bobble pattern is worked around the hems and yoke and the neck is finished with some basic crochet. If you are a knit-only person, you can always substitute i-cord.

heyday

Worn open, the split neck makes a flattering v-neck, tied close, the neck is more of a ballet style, with a keyhole opening. Since the garment has so few details it's really a breeze to alter. Do you want to eliminate the split? Just work the yoke in the round. Do you want to make the neck narrower? Add more decreases rounds. Wider? Take out some decreases. This is really a piece you can customize and make your own.


heyday tied closed


My original swatch and proposal, even suggested subbing the small bobble for a glass bead. I didn't think Sundara's stunning Sport Merino Two in this richly hued colorways, needed any extra adornment, but for a subtler colorway like one of her Vintage shades, a little glimmer might be just the thing.


heyday original sketch


I really enjoyed both designing and knitting this piece. It's my first yoke-ish design and I was happy to see it come together without any big challenges. It's always a risk, taking on a new construction, under deadline, but I couldn't think of a better way to show of that swag-like stitch pattern.


heyday back


If you like this design, you can find out more about it in the following locations:



And you can find the yarn here with new colors coming all the time. I would love to know what your favorite piece in the edition is. Can you pick just one?

Filed under: knitting , pattern , twist collective

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July 12, 2014

Charting crochet motifs in Illustrator

Some of us designers over in Ravelry, have been talking about charting crochet patterns. I think many of us who enjoy crochet, really appreciate charted designs. Not only can you see what is going on, but they are fairly well understood regardless of language. Crochet charts pose some unique challenges that knitting charts generally do not. While knitting is suspended from a cord or needle, making each row straight, while you are working it, crochet stitches grow organically from a single point and then tether to the previous row at any point the designer indicates. That means that you cannot simple set up a grid and build your chart. Each stitch may be a different height and width, or clustered together at the base or top, and all of that needs to be carefully crafted in the chart to make it clear what the crocheter needs to do next.

Definitely check out that thread for other tutorials, tips, and discussions, if this topic interests you.

There's certainly no single correct way to make charts, but it can be helpful to see how other people do theirs. Below is a rough take on how I do my own charts. This is a motif-style chart, but many of the steps would be applicable to flat rows, as well.

I lowered my monitor resolution to make everything on my screen bigger, but you'll still probably want to watch this in full screen. If you can't see the embedded video here, here's the link to youtube. And if you want to play around with the finished Illustrator file, I demoed in this video, you can download it here.

Filed under: crochet , design , illustrator , tutorial

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July 10, 2014

Phosphene

Yesterday, I released a new crochet pattern, Phosphene. This crochet shawl is worked as individual motifs that are joined as you go. Since it's worked in lace weight yarn, it's a great project for these hot summer months.

And since it's made of a series of motifs, you can adapt it to almost any size or shape from a cowl to a blanket, depending on how you assemble the pieces and the yarn and hook you choose.

Like my other crochet shawl design, Aasha, I've included both charts and written out instructions. You'll find the entire motif charted on one page and round-by-round written and charted instructions, on another.

I hope this will make the patterns easier to follow and suitable even for crocheters who aren't comfortable with American crochet terminology. Though, if you are interested in converting the American terms to British or Scandinavian terminology, there's a helpful chart at the end of this page.

If you are interested in seeing more pictures and getting more details about this pattern, you can view it on Ravelry, and here on my site.

Filed under: crochet , pattern

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June 27, 2014

Ten-year blog anniversary


Today, my blog turns ten. I was twenty-nine years old when I started it, a relatively recent transplant to Los Angeles, and just learning to designs knitting patterns. My website was three at the time. If you want to take a trip in the way-back machine, you can even see the first version of my site here, though it's nothing more than a splash-screen. For a couple of years, it functioned primarily as an online resume. Then, in 2004, I gave the whole thing a makeover, started offering free patterns, and my blog followed closely behind.

first_blog.jpg
*sniff* They grow up so fast.


I don't think I'd be designing knitting patterns, today, if I hadn't been testing the waters online, at the time I started my site. Ten years ago, very few people even knew what a PDF was. Online purchases were the exception, not the norm. While I enjoyed knitting, if I hadn't been connecting with knitters online, I'm not sure I would have had the community of enthusiastic knitters to encourage me,while I learned from the many mistakes I made along the way.


I sometimes wonder what it would be like if, 13 years ago, Leo hadn't encouraged me to start a site. I wonder what would have happen if we hadn't stopped at Big Sur, on our way to San Francisco where we picked up a couple of cute knit hats at a gift shop, and how things would have been different if Leo hadn't pretended to love the ill-fitting hat I knit for him a few weeks later. I wonder if I would have started offering patterns if the owners of Artfibers hadn't encouraged me along or if knitters had been more disparaging of my mistakes and incomplete patterns. Knowing me, I could have easily been discouraged along the way, which would have been unfortunate, as my circle of fiber arts friends has been wonderful and they have challenged and encouraged me, made me laugh and made me think, and overall, made knitting one of the more rewarding parts of my life.


I don't blog as much as I used to, not for lack of things to say, but because so many of us have connected on social media platforms, where we can interact more directly and more quickly than through blog comments and emails. But I'm pretty sentimental about my blog. It's like handwritten thank-you notes, not something I do as often as I'd like but something I still do for more special occasions. Looking through my RSS aggregator, I see a lot of links to now-defunct blogs from knitters, spinners, crocheters and just all-around interesting people. Perhaps blogs are the pet-rocks of the early 2000s, but I'll be keeping mine going for at least a while more. And, presuming you are on my redesigned blog, and not reading this in an aggregator, or through my old blog, you can find me on a multitude of social media platforms, up there, to the right, under the "Find Me Here" heading. I interact mostly on Facebook, but you'll see me pop up on Twitter and Flickr with some regularity.


If nothing else, you'll get to see more pictures of the pooches.


thedogs.jpg


And a few hummingbirds, too.


hummingbird.jpg


If you'll grant me just a little bit more sentimentality, I couldn't end this blog post without thanking those of you who come by my blog, read my posts, leave comments, and/or interact with me online, and knit my patterns. I'm a pretty shy person and would never have connected with so many people if I had to do it in person. I cringe at a lot of my old blog posts (and old patterns) but I wouldn't take any of it back. It's the mortified shoe-box of my late twenties and early thirties and I hope I'll always be able to look back, read through the posts and remember all the remarkable people I've met and experiences I've had.

Filed under: about the blog , darwin , knitting , panda , theano

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Feisty FidoFeeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household.You Don't Have to be Evil to Work Here, But it HelpsBrave New Knits: Dozens of Projects and Personalities from the Knitting BlogosphereCowl GirlsFrom Dead to Worse

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