Sunday, September 28, 2014

Red Rover: The Third of Three Playground Shawls

Today I would like to introduce my third Playground Shawl, Red Rover, and to share with you its "spark" which is a term that I like to use to refer to the origins of any of my designs.

If you read my last two posts (here and here), you know that the first two shawls in my newly released ebook, "Playground Shawls", were designed and sample-knit in June and July 2013.  I had the goal to design the third one in August 2013, but I fell short on this.  Perhaps I should explain by telling you that the third shawl was going to be named "Hopscotch".  Perhaps I should tell you that I wanted to have a band of colorwork in the border.  Perhaps I should show you all of the many failed swatches.  (Perhaps I might remind you that all of the signs of every summer's ending make me very sad.)  Instead, I think I will just say that "Playground Shawls" fell into a dark period at the end of last summer.

It was bound to happen.  The others went so well... it was kind of too much to expect a third one so soon.  "Hopscotch" was not meant to be, at least not as a part of this collection.

The yarn that I bought at Gosh Yarn It! in August was Meadow by the Fibre Company.

I created a project page on Ravelry with this "August Camp" image.

Meadow is a lovely yarn, a sweet and light blend of merino, llama, silk and linen.  I am not sure when I finished knitting the body of the shawl, a true triangle, which began with a two-row garter stitch stripe.  I was swatching a lot of garter stitch borders last fall (as in Paper Lanterns).  The border I eventually used is from Barbara G Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns and called "Narrow Dice Edging".  I had to work it in opposite directions on each side of the shawl and then create a center point to join them.

The eventual name for shawl number three was "Red Rover".  I like to think of the two rows of triangular scallops as the two (equal) lines of players holding hands, and I love the red/pokeweed color.  The "spark" was the yarn... was the garter stitch... was the color... but it was altogether... enough.  (It pleases me that in my computer files, these shawls have such compatible nicknames: DD, CC and RR.)

My friends at Gosh Yarn It! often asked me how "my shawl patterns" were coming, but I had nothing to show them for several months.  A new test knitter emerged from those doing the asking, and she knit two versions of Red Rover after I finished mine in March.  I needed a new tech editor as well.  Then came this stage where I felt pressed to have the formatting be similar from shawl to shawl, and the photo editing and selection had to be the best that I could do, because my photos are most definitely not all equal.  But now these patterns are "all done", and I am looking forward to seeing what others will make to "wear to the playground".

Playground Shawls:  Cat’s Cradle, Double Dutch, Red Rover (in fingering weight and lace-weight yarns).

"Red Rover" is my third and final Playground Shawl.  Please come to the playground with me!

Thanks for reading!

"Playground Shawls" is my first ebook collection on Ravelry.  It is currently available for a purchase price of $11.  The three shawl patterns included in the ebook are also available for individual purchase at $5 each.

Much thanks to my Red Rover team.

Tech Editing:  Terese Chynoweth
Test Knitting:  Bonnie B
Stylist/Model:  Ali Dervin
Photo/Styling Assistant:  Mallory Kern

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cat's Cradle: The Second of Three Playground Shawls

Today I would like to introduce my second Playground Shawl, Cat's Cradle, and to share with you its "spark" which is a term that I like to use to refer to the origins of any of my designs.

If you read my last post, Double Dutch: The First of Three Playground Shawls, you might remember that the design sample was knit as a June 2013 "Summer Camp Project" for my LYS, Gosh Yarn It!  As July approached, I had the idea of an ebook named "Playground Shawls" and my challenge to myself was to design and knit a shawl as a July Summer Camp Project, followed by another as an August Summer Camp Project.

What to design for July?  I knew that it would be a more-than-one-color shawl.  I knew that it would be a smallish shawl.  These would be the unifying features of the collection.  The variety would be in the shawl shapes and the stitch patterns and knitting techniques.

I was drawn to making a crescent shape for July -- what could be more opposite the angular shaping of Double Dutch?  I had read a post at PicnicKnits by Corrina Ferguson where she described in one sentence the formula for one of her favorite shawl shapes.  (Sorry, but I could not find the exact post.)  She was talking about a shawl that she designed that I would call a deep crescent.  She called it "a heart shape that is not really a heart shape", and she said all you had to do was (starting from the top) increase 6 stitches every other row (or the equivalent of 6 stitches every other row over a greater number of rows).

I thought, I can do that!  I had these skeins of The Fibre Company's Canopy Fingering that I bought at a trunk show at Gosh Yarn It! 

I made many decisions rather rapidly.  It would be top-down with stockinette two-row stripes.  The crescent shape could be thought of as a cradle shape (no, not a heart).  The 'acai' (orange) and 'sarsaparrilla' (brown) colorways used for the striping call to mind a tiger, or more precisely a tiger-striped cat.  The shawl was named (only in my head for the moment) "Cat's Cradle".  I already knew that I could create some kind of a lace border with a cat's cradle inspiration.

Photo Credit:

I created a project page on Ravelry with this "July Camp" image.

I cannot say that the designing was as effortless as in Double Dutch, but it actually did move along very well.  I would knit on the striped body of the shawl when mindless knitting was best, and I worked up a swatch of the edging when I was more alert.  Perhaps the biggest challenge was not to run out of yarn.  I had to rip out swatches to have enough of the sarsaparrilla to complete the bottom edging.  I liked this shawl that I finished before July 31 quite a lot.  It is another pretty and "playful" little shawl.

"Cat's Cradle" was my second Playground Shawl.  It inspired me to attempt just one more shawl last summer in order to release my very first ebook.  Stay tuned for the story of shawl number 3.

Thanks for reading!

"Playground Shawls" is my first ebook collection on Ravelry.  It is currently available for a purchase price of $11.  The three shawl patterns included in the ebook are also available for individual purchase at $5 each.

Much thanks to my Cat’s Cradle team.
Tech Editing:  Holly Priestly
Test Knitting:  Tina W & Catherine M
Stylist/Model:  Ali Dervin
Photo/Styling Assistant:  Mallory Kern

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Double Dutch: The First of Three Playground Shawls

Today I would like to introduce my first Playground Shawl, Double Dutch, and to share with you its "spark" which is a term that I like to use to refer to the origins of any of my designs.

I decided on a photo of Double Dutch for the "cover" of my very first ebook collection of knit designs.

Double Dutch was one of my most effortless design to date.  That is largely because it was "pre-designed" many months before I made the sample and wrote the pattern last June.  I recently described how rewarding I find it to have my designs selected for third-party publication.  As might be expected, many of my submissions are eventually rejected.

I made this swatch almost two years ago.  The "spark" for my design was a two-color stitch pattern called "Striped Double Stitch" from an old stitch dictionary (Knitting Encyclopedia: 1800 Patterns) that my Mom handed-down to me many years ago.

I loved the texture of the "double stitch" stripes and that they are fun and easy to knit.  The curving lines within the stripes reminded me of jump ropes.  I chose a border that repeated the curves at its edge, and I chose a shawl shape that is a variation of a shallow triangle for its wearability.

I sent the scanned swatch as part of a design proposal off to a place where I had been published once before.  No luck with that.  Then I sent it off one more time to a whole different place.  No luck there either, but from them, I received the kindest rejection email ever composed.  (Truth be told, there even was a third rejection... Oh, my!)

But I loved my little my swatch.  Much like the Little Prince loved his Rose.

Last June, I was contemplating how much fun it would be to participate in "Summer Camp" at my favorite LYS, Gosh Yarn It!  The Summer Camp project for June 2013 was:   “Color Wars -- a project that was to be made with two or more colors".  The yarns used in my swatch were purchased at Gosh Yarn It!  It was so easy to finally just make the (previously designed) shawl.  I created a project page on Ravelry with this "June Camp" image.

And the good news continued, because before June 30 of last year I made a shawl that I love.

"Double Dutch" was my first Playground Shawl.  It inspired me to continue to make two more shawls last summer in order to release my very first ebook.  Stay tuned for the stories of shawls number 2 and 3.

Thanks for reading!

"Playground Shawls" is my first ebook collection on Ravelry.  It is currently available for a purchase price of $11.  The three shawl patterns included in the ebook are also available for individual purchase at $5 each.

Much thanks to my Double Dutch team.
Tech Editing:  Holly Priestly
Test Knitting:  Catherine M & Joan S
Stylist/Model:  Ali Dervin
Photo/Styling Assistant:  Mallory Kern

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Rose Meditation

"You are beautiful, but you are empty.
One could not die for you.
To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you--the rose that belongs to me.

But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered;
because it is she that I have put under the glass globe;
because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen;
because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies);
because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing.

Because she is MY rose."

"It is the time you have lost for your rose that makes your rose so important.”                                              
                               ~ Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry,
The Little Prince

Photo Credit:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rosebud: My "Spark" & My Design Proposal

My latest magazine pattern, Rosebud Hat, (which appears in Interweave Gifts, 2014) (and which was just talked about on the Knitting Daily blog this week) has what I would call a "blended spark" for its origin.  I combined elements of contemporary textile design with my favorite traditional stranded colorwork.

Though it might seem a stretch at first, it really started last September when I read this post by the well-known knitwear designer, Ysolda Teague.  Ysolda modeled an outfit: skirt, tank and cardigan, that she made entirely by herself.  I used to sew a great deal, and I was very intrigued by the completely hand-stitched tank that she made using the book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe.

Thus began my own love of all things Alabama Chanin.  Of course I bought the book.  (My mother taught me to love books long before she taught me to love yarn and knitting.)

In my sewing and needlecraft lifetime, I have already tried many, if not all, of the gorgeous fabric enhancement techniques: stenciling, embroidery, applique, quilting, reverse applique and bead and sequin embellishments.  I find some of the pieces to be breathtakingly beautiful, as you can see from those that I have pinned (just pinned a couple more right now / can't help myself) on my "Stitchery" board at Pinterest.

Do I have the time to make handsewn garments for myself?  Of course not.  But I thought a lot about how to capture the "all-over" designs in knitting.  Most of the "fabric maps" are too large in scale for any of the accessory pieces that seem to be becoming my design niche.

Fabric Map: Kristina's Rose

But I truly like the repetition-with-variation that I favor in all design and art.  Do you see how the rose motif is copied in three different sizes and rotated in all directions?  And I was inspired by the colors -- there are many shades of gray in the A.C. palette along with deep, moody, and sometimes, vibrant hues.  I purchase some new yarn from my LYS (GYI), Baa Ram Ewe's Titus, in "aire" (blue) and "coal" (dark gray).  At first, I thought that I might make a bucket shaped hat like those appearing on the book's cover, with a facing on the brim.

As my design evolved it did become a more wearable classic hat shape, but it does have a deeply faced hem that (according to the magazine copy) "gives it a polished finish and provides an extra layer of warmth".

About the rosebuds:  These are actually quite traditional in Fair Isle knitting.  I charted a single rosebud motif and then I "changed the direction" by mirroring it, for what would be the row above.  I made five different charts (really, I just checked) where I played around to get the spacing that I liked best.  Later, it took a couple more charts to perfect the row of smaller rosebuds in the decreasing section at the top of the hat.

This post is getting longish (and I always think that if I get too long, I will be boring you) but I am proud to share what I did when creating my design proposal which I sent to the editors at Interweave last October.

First (after all the charting) came the swatch made with the above mentioned Titus yarn.

This swatch was sent to the editors in Colorado.  It is 4" wide and 8" tall. It is what I would call a hat "section".  I did have to knit it back and forth, and not in the round, but that is not too difficult for me.  It shows a two-repeat wide section of the hat with the "knitted-in" hem and the hat shaping with the reduced size rosebuds.

Then for my "design sketch" I got very crafty.

I started with a sketched hat-wearing head on a piece of printer paper.  I scanned the swatch as it appears in the photo above.  Then I calculated a scale factor to use in my copier to make a reduced size "hat section" that would fit on the drawing. I printed 4 of these hat sections and trimmed and pasted them in place on the drawing.  I really think that was clever.  (And I always love to get crafty!)

Thanks for reading!  Knit Happy!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fall Flowers & Fall Knitting

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you would know that I am not a fan of winter to the extent that I also have mixed feelings about fall.  (In all honesty, I will admit that early fall can be quite lovely.)

My flowers are not looking like themselves these days.

OK.  I confess that since I came back from my beach vacation in mid-August, I have not been out to water them as often as I should.

I took this upward-looking shot of some blossoms on my "Snowball Bush" on the same day that I shot that first photo.  (In early fall, I do try to "look on the bright side".)

Fall is a favorite time for many, if not, most, knitters.  I have notice a small uptick in my online pattern sales at Ravelry.  There are only three patterns for sale there, but if all goes well, that number will be doubling very soon.

My yet to be released designs are still in my cupboard, but I am done with them now.  I have finished selecting what I think are my best photos.  I even think that I now have a finished "cover" image.

Edited to add:  I just set up my ebook page.

 Stay tuned for more to come..

Friday, August 29, 2014

Introducing: ROSEBUD

"A deep, faced hem brings a polished finish and extra warmth to the Rosebud Hat."

It certainly is about time that I introduce my latest design... Rosebud... one of 34 designs in Interweave knits, Gifts 2014.

"The 2014 holiday issue offers the usual collection of delightful quick knits and artful accessories. His and hers hat variations, a children’s tea party, holiday decor, and loads of accessories—shawls, socks, hats, mitts, cowls, and more—fill out the patterns, while technique articles focus on unusual colorwork methods. Get in the giving mood with these 34 exciting projects."

This magazine is available digitally at the link above.  The official release date is September 2, when it will be on newsstands everywhere.

I was delighted to receive my complimentary copy in the mail on Wednesday.

Though I have yet to make it onto the cover of anything... I am happy to have my project on one of the two contents pages.

 And then there is that spread on pages 65-66.

I was tickled pink that Interweave chose to photograph the inside of the hat.

This project is basically a "stranded colorwork" project.  The reverse side is partially cover by the hem facing, but you can see all the little "floats" where the yarn that is not being used is carried along behind the work.

For basic instructions on stranded colorwork, please check out my very popular post from last year, "Two-Handed Stranded Colorwork Tutorial".  One thing that I did not think to include at the time that I wrote the tutorial was a photo of the reverse side.  From time to time, I have thought, "that might have been helpful," and now you can see it in print!

I hope that if you purchase the magazine, you enjoy making many of the projects.  If you have a moment, please see Rosebud Hat on Ravelry and while there, favorite it just for me ♥♥♥♥♥♥  Thanks for reading!