Category Archives: pattern design

Yay! For Yarn

One of the nice things about the Indie Design Gift-A-Long is the chance to get to know about other indie designers. I interviewed Kiri FitzGerald-Hillier, a designer from Brisbane, Australia. She’s the owner of Yay! for Yarn, an online yarn shop. We chatted via Ravelry message.

Kiri

What made you decide to start designing your own knitwear? How long have you been designing?
I have a small online yarn shop, through this I was given the opportunity to design for a small Australian knitting magazine, I came up with a few small, simple items and enjoyed the processes of coming up with my own ideas and seeing them in print! My Lorna Shawl was one of these designs and after a request from a few people on Rav and with permission from the publisher, I self-published this design on Rav. It was exciting to see completed projects and to have people purchase the pattern. Another Australian Craft magazine requested that I do some designs for them and from there I’ve just grown. It was probably the beginning of last year, after having some designs selected for Yarn magazine, that I started considering myself a ‘designer’, though I would still say I’m at the beginning with a LOT to learn!

Zaggin

I love your Zaggin’ Shawl. The short row construction is very eye-catching! How did you come to design it?
Thank you, this is one of my favorites as well, I can’t wait until next winter when I can actually wear it!
I love using short rows and the effects and different fabrics which can be created simply by changing knitting direction in different places. I had some left-over yarn from a cardigan I designed and I just started playing with a zig-zag pattern, after a few different trials (and a bit of frogging and re-starting), this design was created. I still haven’t finished the first prototype in the left over yarn, I got to a point where I couldn’t bear frogging it again, so restarted in a new yarn when I had the final pattern worked out.

Who taught you to knit? Do you come from a family of knitters, or are you a solo knitter?
My Mum found a second hand learn to knit pack of cards when I was little (it was a teaching resource from the UK from the 70’s I think), I think I was in my early teens when I taught myself from these. My Mum can knit she probably helped me a bit (she made me an amazing cabled jumper from handspun when I was 14 which I wore to death! and another cardi which I’m ashamed to say I refused to wear but these are the only two things I remember her knitting). I made a couple of things in my teens. I picked the needles up again when I was in my mid twenties and studying for a Visual Arts degree at uni, we had an assignment in sculpture class where we had to combine craft and art, I covered and knitted a dinner setting in brown acrylic yarn. About a year after that I discover a knitting magazine in a local newsagency, it was that that got me completely hooked. I think this magazine made me realise that there was a world of knitting – if there was a magazine then it meant others were doing it!

Do you do any other fiber-related crafting? Crochet? Spinning?

Just knitting. I’ve tried to learn crochet but so far have only mastered the granny square.

I see that your Etsy store is Kiri Moana Designs. Where does the name come from? (Is Moana your middle name?)
Moana (pronounce mow-an-uh) is my middle name, it’s a Maori name from New Zealand and means the sea, Kiri is also a Maori name. I was born in Australia but my Dad is from NZ. When I was born my parents still hadn’t come to an agreement on a name for me, Dad announced “her name is Kiri Moana”, Mum said, “Fine….SOMEONE bring me a cup of tea!” In NZ they’re pretty common names but in Australia they are quite unusual so I get lots of comments when introduced to people.

Bloom

What is your favorite item to design?
Cardigans and shawls/scarves. I love the completion of something like a cardigan pattern, so much work goes into them that it’s such a sense of achievement when the pattern is finally complete. I don’t have many yet available on Rav but I have a couple coming out in the next two issues of Yarn magazine and have a few more in the works. I’ve always like maths and love that I’ve found something where I can combine my creative side with my love on numbers!
I love playing with manipulating fabric in shawl designs, I find shawls are a great place to play with ‘what-if’. I have a chunky scarf design in testing at the moment, one of my regular testers made the comment “Great!! Another adventure coming up, I can tell!” which I love! I find with shawls I start out with a plan, get bored with the repetition of the plan and suddenly I’m going off in a different direction, pattern or colour. I have a few more designs still in the planning stages which I can’t wait to see where they end up. I’ve really only just started seriously designing so I feel my best work is still to come.

What is your favorite knitting technique? (Cables, lace, colorwork, other)
I’ve always loved cables but only have one pattern out the uses them – I think I’ve decided that my next design idea will have cables! Actually I love lace and colourwork as well ;) I really love the possibilities of short rows and they just keep showing up in my designs. Really anything that creates an interesting fabric, that said I’m happy knitting stocking and garter stitch as well…. Just give me some yarn and a pair of needles and I’m a happy little knitter! Hmm… I think the only thing I’ve come across that I’m not so keen on is picot edges – I love the look but get bored knitting them. And steeks are something I’ll probably never try, I don’t trust my sewing skills enough to believe that it will hold the fibres and stop them from fraying.

Do you have a favorite yarn/fiber?
I love love love anything from Dream in Color, the colours they create are beautiful! I do prefer natural fibres and prefer wool and wool blends and cottons.

Are you knitting anything in the Indie GAL?
Summer Girl – knitted headband by Monika Sirna accidentally fell into my cart earlier this week. We’re at the end of a very hot spring and the start of what promises to be a very very hot and humid summer in Brisbane, that said I still like to make something for my children’s birthdays. My son’s is next week and I’ve made him an orange hat – Paper Planes by Amy van de Larr (at his request), I saw this headband and decided it would be perfect for my daughter, her birthday is just before Christmas, she loves playing fairies and princesses so I thought this would be a great dress-up.

Thanks, Kiri!

You can check out Kiri’s designs on Ravelry here, and her blog, Yay For Yarn, here.

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long pattern sale goes through midnight Eastern Standard Time, November 21. And the fun and games and knit and crochet alongs continue through the end of December. Check the Ravelry group for more information!

Potpourri post, Autumn Scarf pattern sale

A little of this, and a little of that.

autumn scarf

My Autumn Scarf is now available from me through Ravelry downloads, as well as from Knit Picks. I’m pleased to have it available both ways, especially if you’re a knitter that likes to keep your pattern pdfs in your Ravelry library. And! From now through November 15, the Ravelry download is $1 off if you use the coupon code AUTUMN at checkout. That means it’s $3.99 instead of $4.99. I wore this pumpkin colored scarf yesterday with my basic black everything else, and felt perfectly ready for Halloween!

pdxknitterati thrumbelina

A few weeks ago, the owner of Knitters Dream in Pennsylvania featured my Thrumbelina slipper pattern at her grand re-opening of her shop. She used her angora roving, which is a 50% angora rabbit/ 50% merino roving. Doesn’t that sound like a heavenly combination? And they turned out so nicely, too!

pdxknitterati kerfuffle cowl

I taught intro to stranded colorwork at Stash in Corvallis on Saturday. We had a lot of fun, and all students are well on their way to a beautiful cowl.

The class and program list for the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat in Tacoma was posted yesterday. I’m planning to go again this year; how about you? Mark your calendar for November 18, which is when registration goes live!

And here’s one more retreat that is calling my name. It’s new this year, the History Unwound Retreat in Colonial Williamsburg, VA. History plus textiles? Right up my alley. Could I possibly make it to both of these retreats?

New pattern: quick knit Big Leaf Scarf

Knitted Wit has a new super bulky yarn, and she asked me to design something fun with it. She gave me some blue yarn, but I saw the color she was knitting, and I coveted it right off her needles!

Big Leaf Scarf

This is the Big Leaf Scarf. It’s a series of leaves, knit end to end. I knit mine on size US 17 needles. Big leaves, big fun! This color is called Sea Glass. The yarn is Knitted Wit Cotton Candy, 100% merino wool, 250g/140 yards/skein.

Big Leaf Scarf detail

It only took two days to make this scarf. I think it would be great for quick and easy holiday gifting.

Big Leaf Scarf

The pattern is available for $6 USD through Ravelry. Use the coupon code BIGFUN for $2 off through September 24.

What else is going on? I had a great weekend with friends at the coast, helping celebrate a birthday. On Friday we kayaked down the Nestucca River to the ocean (but not too close; no ocean kayaking for us!) and back.

kayak

The weather was gorgeous all weekend. (This is the other Haystack Rock, at Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City.)

Haystack Rock Cape Kiwanda

Haystack Rock Sunset Cape Kiwanda

I even did some knitting on my Snowy Woods KAL!

snowy woods kal

We just had the second weekly prize drawing for the KAL. Here’s this week’s prize: A notebook with part of “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” printed on the cover.

snowy woods notebook

There’s still time to join the KAL. One more weekly prize drawing, and then we’ll have a grand prize drawing for the finishers!

How was your weekend? Did you knit?

Malabrigo Quickie: ZigZag Lightning Cowl

Fall is in the air, at least here in Portland. It’s time to start thinking of ways to keep warm!

ZigZag Lightning CowlShort ZigZag Lightning Cowl

ZigZag Lightning CowlLong ZigZag Lightning Cowl

These are my new ZigZag Lightning Cowls. Knit with Malabrigo Merino Worsted, they’re featured this month as a Malabrigo Quickie pattern.

ZigZag Lightning CowlLong cowl, doubled

Either of these cowls can be knit with two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in coordinating colors. I love the colors in Malabrigo’s variegated yarns, and pairing a variegated with a semi-solid is my favorite way to make them both shine. I’ve used a slip stitch pattern, so you are only working one color per row. A simple cable maneuver creates the zigzag effect.

ZigZag Lightning Cowls

Are you new to cabling? I’ve made a video tutorial for you! It shows how to make the zigzag lightning cables both with and without a cable needle. You can see it here.

The ZigZag Lightning Cowl begins with a long tail cast on. Do you avoid this cast on for fear of running out of yarn? Fear no more, because there’s a way to ensure you never run out of yarn for this cast on; I wrote about it in my previous post.

This pattern is available through Ravelry; here’s the page link. To celebrate its launch, I”m offering it for $2 off through September 9. Use the code ZIGZAG to get your discount.

Thanks to Malabrigo for the pretty yarn to play with!

New Snowy Woods Cowl pattern and KAL

The Snowy Woods Cowl pattern is now available! Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” was the inspiration for this piece. It is knit with heavy worsted to Aran weight yarn, and can be made in several lengths.

snowy woods cowl

snowy woods short

The shortest version takes just one skein of yarn. The medium and long versions require two skeins.

Snowy Woods Cowl

Snowy Woods Cowl

My favorite is the long cowl, doubled. It feels especially luxurious around my neck.

Lorajean Kelley of Knitted Wit dyed her Aran weight Superwash Merino in a special colorway for me, Snowy Woods. We’re celebrating this pattern release with a knitalong and hope you’ll join us! The pattern is $2 off with the coupon code FROST. If you’d like to order yarn for the KAL from Knitted Wit, she’ll ship for free with code Shipnow. Both of these offers are good through September 1, 2014. Don’t wait too long, though; we’re casting on September 1!

snowy woods kal
KAL colors Tupelo Honey, Cedar, Snowy Woods, Oregon Sky.

You can purchase the pattern through Ravelry (click the link). Don’t forget to use your coupon code FROST for $2 off, whether or not you want to participate in the KAL.

New to cabling? I’m having a 2 session class at Twisted in Portland September 30 and October 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Here’s the link to my Ravelry group for the KAL. We’ll cast on September 1. I hope you’ll join us!

Montreal, and knitting progress

Knitting away over here; I finished one project for a pattern I’ll be re-releasing soon, but I want to tweak it to add an additional size, so one more knit coming up. The smaller size was perfect airplane knitting.

snowy woods cowl 2

This is an update of the Snowy Woods cowl, which was released last winter as an exclusive for one of WoolGirl’s club kits.

snowy woods detail

So far I’ve changed this up with a fatter, smooshier yarn which means it can be knit with fewer repeats and be closer to the neck, and I also want to make a version that will double loop around the neck. The current yarn is Knitted Wit’s Superwash Merino Aran, a heavy worsted/light Aran bouncy round fun to knit delight. More on this soon.

Other yarn was delivered while I was on vacation, and I was knitting away madly on it, until I looked closely and said to myself, “clown barf.” It’s a fabulous variegated paired with a semi-solid, but the stitch pattern I chose isn’t bringing out the best in the variegated, so it’s back to the drawing board on that one. No worries; I have time and determination.

Vacation: We went to Montreal for six days, and had a blast! It’s almost like going to Europe, very charming, bilingual, and much closer. We stayed in the old part of Montreal, and it was lovely. Our hotel had this bronze outside, which is a smaller version of the one we know and love in DH’s home town of Clayton, Missouri. We felt right at home.

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Our hotel was near the Basilica of Notre Dame. The square in front of it always has something fun going on. There’s music at noon.

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We saw a gorgeous bridal party…

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And at night, Notre Dame’s windows glow blue.

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We happened to be there during Just for Laughs, a comedy festival. We also enjoyed the Festival des Nuits Afrique. Montreal has a short summer, and they seem to make the most of it! So many people walking around, enjoying the sunshine and the warm evenings.

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I don’t know if this police officer lost a bet, or if this is just part of his summer wardrobe.

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This troupe was offering mariages gratuits, free weddings. No one took them up on it.

I saw a rendition of a very Canadian song, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, in a way I’d never heard it before. Sorry the sound isn’t very good; half the speakers weren’t working ’til later in the song. But I like the beat of this, in four instead of three.

There was a lot of good food, and wine.

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(Breakfast of champions. Or champignons.)

My food mission was to check out poutines. This one was from Au Pied du Cochon’s food truck at the festival. Poutine avec foie gras.

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And we had to try the poutine at McDonald’s, because, photo op. It was underwhelming, as far as poutine goes.

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But I learned that chicken McNuggets are Poulet McCroquettes, which made me laugh out loud. Really, doesn’t everything sound better in French?

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Whew! That was a big catch up. Back to my knitting. No more clown barf!

New pattern: Beanstalk Scarf and Mitts

Beanstalk is live! Cathy Woodcock at Lantern Moon gave me a skein of Indochine to play with last February. I wanted to design something that made the most of this single skein of luscious yarn. That something turned out to be a skinny scarf.

pink

I love the way the stitch pattern blocks out in silk. But a scarf alone didn’t seem to be enough, so I designed some coordinating mitts. Just one more skein!

beanstalk set

right

The thumb gusset grows out of one of my favorite leaf motifs, the same one that I used in my Garland shawl.

beanstalk mitts - Copy (800x533)
This photo is from Sarah Peery, who test knit this set for me.

More information about this pattern is on the Beanstalk pattern page, and on the Ravelry page.

To celebrate the launch of this pattern, I’m offering it for half off through July 22. Use the coupon code BEANSTALK when you check out; here’s the link to purchase through Ravelry (you don’t have to be a member). Go forth and knit!

(Anyone interested in a KAL?)

Lantern Moon Indochine yarn…and the coast

I forgot that I have a little ball of Indochine, Lantern Moon’s 100% silk sport weight yarn. Cathy gave it to me when I was on my way up to Madrona in February. I meant to use it in class, but didn’t, and then it got tucked away when I got home. This is a sample color; I don’t see it on their website now.

I brought it to the coast to play with. It’s lovely and luminous; it catches the light and shines it right back at you.

Indochine

My impression so far: This is a gorgeous yarn. It’s 100% silk. There are 12 individual strands, three groups of four. Even with all those strands, it’s not splitty to work with at all, and knits like a dream on a US size 5 (3.75 mm) needle. I tried it first on a 7 hoping for a loose lace, but the stitch definition is much better on a 5. So far, I love it. It comes in 50g/134 yard skeins; Lantern Moon shows it on their website for $19.50/skein. A bit spendy, but oh, so lovely! I’m trying to make a little one skein project out of it; I sure wish I’d brought my yarn scale with me. I guess if there’s not enough, I’ll just have to frog it and have the pleasure of knitting up this yarn again in another incarnation. But for now, I’m counting on the magic of blocking…

I brought four design projects to play with, and I’ve charted three, but this one is the one that has captured my attention. Doesn’t everyone take their knitting on vacation? It’s not Paris, but Cannon Beach is pretty sweet this time of year. I didn’t bring a kite; this is the next best thing.

indochine kite

I found these tiny sand dollars on the beach; that’s my anniversary ring next to them for scale.

sand dollars

I decided to chase the sunset last night, but it wasn’t an original idea.

haystack rock sunset chasers

It was worth it though. I used my Lumix GF6 for this next picture. The rest of the pictures are iPhone5, except the sand dollars, which was iPad. Different toys, um, tools, for different reasons.

sunset haystack rock

And I took a panorama shot with my phone, which turned out nicely, too.

haystack rock sunset pano

Back to my knitting!

Trillium season, and knitting

I’ve spent the past week continuing the big studio project, purging what used to be the kids’ closet. Twenty years of kids’ schoolwork…buh-bye. Rock and magnet collections? Gone! The best stuff went to friends’ kids, so that was fun to curate. Now it’s time to get back to work.

But first, a walk in the park…Forest Park. I went on a hike there yesterday with friends. It’s 5,157 acres inside the city of Portland, which makes it the largest urban forest in the United States. I’d never been there before, and I’m a native Portlander!

It’s trillium season in the Pacific Northwest.

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image These are one of my favorite wildflowers.

image Oxalis

image Fiddlehead ferns

image Salmonberry

image I have no idea what these are.

image I love these fungi taking over this log.

Now I’m back to my knitting, working on a design to use the leftover yarn from my Aloha Shawl. And planning the Aloha Shawlette and Shawl KAL! Sharon (Stitchjones) and I are excited to be working on this KAL together. You can use her gorgeous Pai Mei Sock yarn in Rainbow Shave Ice and Warm Sand, or you can use your own yarn. The pattern is still $2 off through April 10; use the coupon code ALOHA to purchase. And swing by the KAL thread on Ravelry!

Is it spring in your neck of the woods yet?

Introducing the Aloha Shawlette and Shawl

Last fall Sharon Spence of Stitchjones asked me to design a shawlette with her Pai Mei Sock yarn in a variegated color for her 2014 Yarnageddon Club. She had a Hawaii theme in mind, and she knows how much I love Hawaii.

I love variegated yarn, but I love it even more when it’s combined with a semi-solid. We settled on these colors, which I got to name: Rainbow Shave Ice and Warm Sand. Perfect!

Aloha Shawlette

Aloha can mean hello, goodbye, or just be a friendly greeting in general. The Aloha shawlette looks good coming and going! It features rainbows, leis, and waves. Knitting begins at the center back neck (note the three lacy flowers here), continues through the rainbows and shellflower leis, and ends with an edging that is knit onto the live stitches at the end. The shawlette uses 2 half skeins of Pai Mei Sock. The yarn is available from Stitchjones.

Aloha Shawlette back

The shawlette is a nice size both on the shoulders and worn bandanna style, but the result made me so happy, I had to have a full size shawl, too. More rainbow, more happy!

Aloha Shawl

The pattern includes instructions for both the shawlette and shawl. It is available through my Ravelry page, and will be on sale for 33% off the usual price through April 7. Visit the Aloha Shawlette/Shawl pattern page and use the coupon code ALOHA to make your purchase. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Aloha Shawl back2

Aloha details (Detail of shellflower lei and edgings for shawlette and shawl)