Category Archives: pattern design

Book getting closer to real

I finished the final design for my book last Wednesday night, just in time for our photo shoot on Thursday morning!

My publisher is in Salem, Oregon, so we met at Archive Coffee and Bar in Salem. Cute place. Nice coffee. I didn’t partake at the bar, but it looks impressive.

I can’t show you my actual knitting, so check out this artful blur. Yarn is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Iris and Cackle.

More blur. But I’m looking forward to sharing these projects with you this fall! Progress on the book is coming along; I have two more items that need to be photographed, and then a bunch tutorial photographs. I’m not the photographer, so I’m not too fussed about that. But the patterns are finished, and the tech editing is also done, as of last week. Now I just need to do all the writing for the parts before and between the patterns. I’m on my way!

I also need to do some work for a video class that I’ll be recording in August, for a September event. Deadlines for that are coming up soon, too. I’m glad I can shift my work around to fit my very flexible schedule.

You know what doesn’t respect a schedule? Ripe produce! I picked plums at my friend Linda’s house, which meant I had to jam them right away. I made plum jam with ginger bits and bourbon. And because I couldn’t find a record of my final be all and end all recipe, except in Facebook comments on a post from last year, I’m noting this here. Sure Jell recipe, and at the end add a generous 1/4 cup bourbon, and 1/4 cup Penzey’s Sweet Ginger Bits. Perfect.

Also, it was such a pretty picture, I ran it through the Waterlogue app to “paintify” it. Happy summer!

Scenes from the design studio

Currently on the needles, another piece for my book. I love these colors together, Iris and Cackle. These are on the Hazel Knits Artisan Sock base, but I’m not knitting socks!

I had to knit a small swatch and do some math to see if I had the right increase rate for what I want, and I didn’t. A wee bit of frogging ensued. Better now than 20 inches in. And say hello to my new split keyboard! It’s more comfortable for typing. It also has lifters to tilt them thumbside up. I’m still doling out my knitting time in 15 minute increments, but my forearm tendinitis is much better.

So how do I use math to know what I want the increase rate to be? Math and gauge tell me that I can have it shaped like either of these mock-ups.

Fewer increases per repeat
More increases per repeat

I cut both shapes from tissue paper, like making a muslin when sewing. I just didn’t have any fabric I wanted to sacrifice for the cause. I tried both these shapes on, and that told me that I want the second one. Okay! Normally I would just knit for a while and see how things are looking, but I don’t want to do that much knitting if it isn’t going to work out. That means I have to be smarter about how I design. I hope it all works out the way I think it will.

We went to St. Louis last week to celebrate Mom-in-law’s birthday. I had this lovely view on the way home.

Mt Hood, or Wy-East

I had some good knitting time on the plane,

but unfortunately had to frog 6 very long rows the next day when I found a stitch that had dropped, *under* the most recent increase/decrease row. (I think I knit the yo but not the stitch that it belonged to.) Ugh. I finished this project yesterday, a week later than I hoped I would. But it’s done!

Things are moving along. What are *you* knitting?

Mood board, and moody

When I started my book project, I was asked to do a mood board. What reflects my vibe/ What do I want my book to look like?

(Mood indigo? Moody blues?)

Looking at recent projects, I think you can tell I like a monochromatic palette, different shades of the same hue. And blue is big! I can’t have an all blue book (and why not?), but I can definitely have a monochromatic vibe.

(Blues, patiently waiting)

I just need to swatch what I’ve charted to make sure it works, and then this is off to Ann, who is sample knitting for me.

I’m funny with deadlines. I used to be a procrastinator, and somewhere along the way I’ve morphed into an all-in obsessive. Not good! There’s a lot of knitting that needs to happen, but slow and steady wins the race.

(If it’s going to be green, it will have a blue undertone!)

I need to do a better job balancing my knitting time. I didn’t listen to my body, and I have developed tendonitis in my forearms, which affects knitting *and* typing. You know, the things I need to do to get this book done! So I’m not knitting for 3 days, and minimally typing.

(Big project? No, a set of two projects.)

For now, I’m petting yarn, and sketching and charting things on paper. I’m on the last big design project for the book, and then I have three more small ones that should be easy. Should. I never know until I actually try to knit them!

Have you ever done a mood board? What would your mood board say about you?

I’m writing a book!

I just signed a contract to write a book! This is the summer project I’ve been hinting about, but I didn’t want to put it out there before the contract was signed. The book will be out in the fall, and it’s about knitting, of course. It will have 20 patterns for accessories and home items (you know I don’t design many sweaters), from simple to more challenging.

I’m looking for some test knitters for these small projects. If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll email you back with more details.

I’m working with Library House Press, which is Marie Greene’s new publishing company. You may know Marie as Olive Knits, and also through her Knit Camp. She has published a couple books with a traditional publisher, and she decided to launch her own publishing company this year with her third book, Knit a Little. I have a copy, and it’s beautiful. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather work with.

DH and I did take a little time to stop and smell the roses this weekend. We biked over to Peninsula Park, where the rose garden is in full bloom.

I love how these buds are peeking through the spent blooms.

I noticed a split stitch in my knitting this afternoon. I didn’t want the yarn to break and run down the column, so I had to fix it. My cable hook was a little short, but I managed to squish them all on there. I was too lazy to go inside to get an extra hook or circular needle! All better now.

I’m teaching Brioche Doctor next month through Bazaar Girls; I can’t wait to show them this picture. That split stitch was 21 rows down! Come to class if you want to know how to fix this and other mistakes in brioche knitting!

I’m taking the summer off to work on my book. Classes will begin again in the fall. I’m looking forward to teaching both via Zoom and in person!

Introducing: Cherry Blossom Wrapture

Cherry blossoms on my mind! This log cabin themed shawl is a generous 17” deep by 98” wide. You don’t have to knit yours to be that wide, but I LOVE how big this is.

This wrap starts at the center with a leafy square, knit in the round. A log cabin knitting-style frame is added, flat, and then the ends are worked out from each half of the square. I knit mine in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn, 2 skeins of Ticklish (white with speckle), and a skein each of Cherry Blossom and Fresh Cut.

It’s so lovely to wrap yourself up in!

This pattern is available through my Ravelry shop here, and through my Payhip shop here. Use coupon code BLOOM for 15% through April 23, 2021 on either site. Newsletter subscribers, check your inbox for your special offer.

Love that center square!

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, model Sharon Hsu, and test knitters Ann Berg, Jacqueline Lydston, Nan Palmer, and Sylvie Bedard.

Signs of Spring: Birdwatcher and Cherry Blossoms

The Birdwatcher (pattern by Casapinka) is underway. I moved up to a US5 needle, knit for a while, and steamed it to get an idea how wide this will be. It’s approximately 39” and I’m aiming for 40”. I’m hoping that the stockinette portion will be just a tad wider than the chevroned edge, and I think it will be. Or not! Again, do as I say, not as I do. I like the fabric I’m getting, and it may just have a little less ease than I was planning. I don’t want to go up another needle size, and I don’t have enough yarn to go up another size in the pattern.

There are supposed to be 4 repeats of that chevron pattern, but I stopped at three. The bottom of the sweater is supposed to be 12” to the armhole, and I want it to be 9. I don’t want chevrons halfway to the armhole; I want it to be more of an edging. I think three repeats will be enough! Also, I was ready to stop paying attention. Now it’s just stockinette to the armhole, which is gives me room to think about other things. I’m glad I’m alternating skeins every 2 rounds; I can definitely see a bit of stripeyness as I’m knitting the stockinette section.

My log cabin wrap is done and blocked! I took some pictures in the back yard, but the modeled pictures are coming soon. My sister modeled for me, and we were lucky to catch the last of the cherry blossoms on a neighborhood street. We went downtown, too, but the trees there were no longer very pink!

Just not the right look for the photo shoot. I really have had cherry blossoms on my mind, so I think this pattern will probably be called Cherry Blossom Wrap. Look for it at the end of the week! For now, let me share pictures from a couple weeks ago downtown. This was the hoped for backdrop for our photo shoot, but I wasn’t ready when it was ready.

What are you knitting this spring?

Dreaming of Spring

I’ve been haunting the Portland waterfront this month, waiting for the cherry trees to bloom.

The top picture is 2 weeks ago, and the bottom is from March 31, 2019. Hoping next weekend is peak!

This color palette is on point!

Here’s a peek at what it’s becoming. I’m so pleased with this. After my adventure with the Pythagorean Theorem and the hypoteneuse, all is well! I don’t regret frogging those 11,000 stitches at all. I’m just over halfway done with this. Pattern coming soon.

I didn’t get much knitting done this weekend because I was teaching for Vogue’s Virtual Knitting Live. I debuted my new Darn It! class, which was really fun! Mending and even more visible mending. This all started with that sock mending project for a friend; it was so much fun I wanted to share my new skills. I’m teaching it again through For Yarn’s Sake on April 25, registration on this page, soon.

And we also launched Brioche Doctor. This covers reading your brioche knitting, and fixing mistakes. I love that it’s different every time, depending on the questions from my students. We can make this as calm or as crazy as you want! I like having several samples so we can play with it different ways.

April classes are booked; I’m looking forward to teaching Brioche Doctor, Tink Drop Frog, Syncopation, and Log Cabin Knitting for Vogue in April. Sign up for their newsletter so you can be notified when registration goes live.

I’m also teaching a slightly longer Syncopation/Syncopated Brioche class for Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop on April 3. I’ll walk you through flat brioche instead of assigning it as homework, before getting to the syncopated brioche. Class is a little longer than the VKL classes to accommodate this. Register here!

I have classes with Twisted and For Yarn’s Sake in April, too. Sign up for my newsletter for the most complete list of classes, plus knitting news, tutorials, and the best discount on my new pattern releases. I try to keep my Workshops and Classes pages updated here on the blog, but there’s no way to let you know about updates on that.

Knit on!

Best laid plans…

I’ve been knitting along in a dream state with these pretty yarns, thinking of how to make the shawl that I see in my mind. This is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, in Ticklish, Cherry Blossom, and Fresh Cut.

A lot of my designing is trial and error, so there’s a lot of ripping and re-knitting. But I learn something every time I rip. I’ve been knitting away, thinking, and it was time to figure out how how big this would be. I used the Pythagorean Theorem. When’s the last time you thought of that? The hypotenuse is the magic number here.

It turns out I had made the beginning way too big. I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish if I kept going. So I frogged the 11,000 stitches that came after this. Which was fine, because I used those stitches to map out what I want to do, see how things would fit together, and decide what the stitch patterns should be. And it was a really big gauge swatch, too. I took a lot of notes along the way, and now I’m well on my way. At least I think I am!

My current workspace is not too shabby.

Are you a ripper? I really don’t mind it, if I get what I want, eventually.

Introducing: Leafy Origami Loop Cowl

Oh, brioche leaves, I just can’t quit you. After the original Leafy Origami Cowl, and then the Leafy Origami Hat, I just had to do one more. A longer cowl (which is really how I like to wear them), with a smaller leaf pattern that I worked out for the hat, which means more leaves on the cowl. This is the Leafy Origami Loop Cowl, and I love it.

Do you like your leaves big and bold, or smaller and…more numerous? Do you like your cowl as a small neck warmer, or a long loop? So many questions, so many options. The new Leafy Origami Loop Cowl can be anywhere from 20” to 36” in circumference, using the smaller leaves that I worked out for the Leafy Origami Hat. But that didn’t seem fair to the first cowl, so I updated that pattern to be from 18” to 32” using those bigger leaves.

This cowl is 32” long.

And this one is 36” long. I love how leafy they are.

Calvin approves!

The Leafy Origami Loop Cowl pattern is now available through Ravelry and Payhip. Use the code LEAFIER for 15% off through March 3, 2021. If you previously purchased the Leafy Origami Cowl pattern through Ravelry you’ll receive an update to that pattern for a longer loop (check your email or Ravelry messages), along with a coupon code for a free copy of the new Leafy Origami Loop Cowl pattern, now that there are more options.

Don’t forget, there’s a Leafy Origami hat, too.

Snow day

And now my dreams are turning from winter to spring…

Sleeve Island Dreams

The end is in sight! I finished one sleeve, and am well on my way on the second one. Actually, I’ve knit two sleeves already. I realized I didn’t like the fit of the first one when it was 2/3 finished, so I started the second one, adding 6 stitches over all. That’s the finished sleeve you see. Then I ripped the first one all the way back to the yoke and started it over to match the second sleeve. I wish I had added 8 stitches, but I made a math error, and I’m not going back!

We’ve decided to skip the patterning at the wrist; it’s just a place to snag fingers on the stranding inside. This isn’t a particularly grippy yarn (Berroco Vintage Worsted), so it’s definitely a consideration.

But you know this means my mind is wandering along to the next project. I’m swatching!

This isn’t the real yarn for this project; I just wanted to know what would happen, and get an approximate gauge for fingering weight yarn.

It’s really a square; it’s just easier to manage on a circular needle when it gets this big. I’m thinking of a pastel floral garden. I started another block in a dark green single ply from my stash, and it’s just not living up to the dream, so I’m doing a little online yarn shopping…

What’s on your needles? Something new, or something that needs to be finished? Or both?