Tuesday, November 28, 2017

New Design: NO-WRONG-SIDE Hat

(right side when knitting)

I am very happy to introduce my bulky weight, reversible (2-hats-in-1), design in three sizes, NO-WRONG-SIDE Hat.

Earlier this year, I was thrilled to learn that I had been selected for The Fibre Co’s Fall 2017 Yarn Support Programme! The Fibre Co's Tundra is the the perfect blend of baby alpaca, merino and silk, worked into a 2-ply that gives it a pleasing, well-rounded appearance for great stitch definition. Though a bulky yarn, it is very light in weight, lofty and extremely warm. It is perfect for the deep texture / cable stitch pattern of the No-Wrong-Side Hat.

This design was originally sparked by the photo of the “Sunburst Check” stitch pattern on page 202 of A 2ND TREASURY OF KNITTING PATTERNS by Barbara G Walker. I was fascinated by the depth of texture in the photo. The poofs of stockinette push strongly forward leaving little pockets of reverse stockinette like pools beneath them. 
When I swatched this stitch pattern, I was quite surprised to find that the reverse side of the fabric was a stitch pattern in itself – a very fluid rib-cable. It did not look like the “wrong side” of a piece of knitting. I worked out a double brim that compliments both sides of the hat. I also created a decreasing crown that flows from the stitch pattern on both sides of the hat.

(reverse side when knitting)

The brim of the hat is folded on a purl ridge and knit together creating a double layer brim. This requires a provisional cast-on and a later “knitting two layers together round” (much like three-needle-bind-off, but with both knit and purl stitches). Next there is an increase round with specific purl increases. For the remainder of the hat, both charted and written directions are provided.

Hat swatch showing purl ridge and double layer brim,
(knit with Tundra in the Boreal colorway).

Finished Measurements
15½ (18¼, 20¾)” [39.5 (46.5, 52.5) cm] circumference and 8¼” [21 cm] high,
will stretch to fit heads up to approximately 19 (22, 24)” [48.5 (56, 61) cm].

Bulky weight yarn,
approximately 96 (112, 128) yd [88 (103, 117) m] for hat.

Shown in:
The Fibre Co.
Tundra (60% alpaca, 30% wool, 10% silk; 120 yd [110 m], 100 g)
 Tiaga colorway, 1 (1, 2) skein(s).

Size US 9 [5.5 mm] needles: 16” [40 cm] circular (cir).
- Size US 10.5 [6.5 mm] needles: 16” [40 cm] circular and set of double-pointed (dpn). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
- Spare US 9 [5.5 mm] or smaller 16” [40 cm] cir needle to hold hem stitches.

My No-Wrong-Side Hat pattern has been carefully written and tech-edited.

Three of my local knitting friends kindly and helpfully agreed to test the pattern in the Fibre Co Tundra. After which, I ran a successful second test knit on Ravelry. (I love all of my test knitters!)

This pattern is now available on Ravelry at an introductory reduced price of $3.75 until the end of the day (11:59 EST) December 4. After that, the pattern will be available at its regular price of $5.00.

My No-Wrong-Side Hat is a fun and quick-to-knit project... perfect for gift knitting. Because I am a participating designer in the Ravelry Indie Gift-A-Long, this hat is an eligible pattern for participation in the GAL2017 HATS & OTHER HEAD THINGS KAL/CAL, where you will find all the love and support you could wish for... as you finish your own gift knitting goals... along with fun games and many prizes.

Thanks for reading!
Thanks for your support of indie designers!!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The 5th annual Gift-A-Long

The 5th annual Ravelry Indie Design Gift-A-Long is almost here! I am super excited to announce this multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 6 week long KAL/CAL of holiday gift projects made with patterns designed by an extensive list of (would you believe 312 in 2017?) independent designers. And, it all begins with an enormous pattern sale!!!
The Gift-A-Long:
From November 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm US EST to December 31, 2017 at midnight US EST there will be fun games, contests, tons of prizes, and 8 KAL/CALs that will help you get your holiday knitting and crocheting done with companionship and fun! This party will be happening in the Ravelry Indie Design Gift-A-Long Group.
The Sale:
From November 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm US EST to November 28th at 11:59pm US EST (312, including me) indie designers will be discounting between 10 to 20 of their patterns 25% for this event. Use coupon code: giftalong2017.
Most of my Ravelry patterns are included in the sale.

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, I encourage you to join a relevant KAL/CAL! (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the Cowls, Scarves, & Other Neck Things KAL/CAL.) To join, simply write a post in the KAL/CAL thread you want to join, including the pattern name you will be knitting and a link to your project page. KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes but you’ve got to post to win
 Please Note: all prize winners must be (indie design gift-a-long) group members! 
KAL/CALs will run from November 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm US EST to December 31, 2017 at midnight US EST, plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting. We have tons of prizes, games, and great conversation, plus a lot of other fun, so pull up a chair and join us!
On your mark…get set…. GIFT!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Fibre Co Tundra

To sum up my last post:  I was selected as a designer for The Fibre Co’s Fall 2017 Yarn Support Programme. My new hat pattern will be released on Ravelry on November 28. It was July when I took this photo of the Tundra yarn that TFC sent for my hat.   

The Taiga colorway is a sort of rustic teal with subtle, tonal gray-brown fiber worked in. Its tones echo the color in my barn wood. Very lovely.

I want to tell you more about this fabulous yarn that is Tundra. The fiber content is 60% baby alpaca, 30% merino and 10% silk. A 100g skein measures 120 yards (110 meters).

In the words of The Fibre CO, "Tundra, began life as the search for the answer to a simple question, 'If The Fibre Co. were to create a bulky yarn, what would it be?' Our answer came from our passion for all natural fibre content that add depth and softness to hand mades. We took a much loved formula of baby alpaca, merino and silk and worked it into a 2 ply that gives a pleasing, well-rounded appearance."

As I told my first group of test knitters, "It is honestly the lightest and softest bulky weight yarn I have ever used." Its warmth and softness are irresistible. The silk adds drape and shine and a touch of luxury.

One skein of tundra will be enough to create a hat in either of the sizes to fit most children and women (15½ and 18¼" circumference). A second skein is needed for the larger (20¾") size to fit most men.

The round smoothness of the yarn adds great stitch definition, which you can see here in the swatch photos that were a part of my design proposal. The stitch pattern is named "Sunburst Check" in Barbara G Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. The swatch was knit in the Boreal colorway.

A single swatch for a hat that has no wrong side. The top photo shows the right side when knitting... the lower photo shows the reverse side. Turn the hat inside-out... to find a new hat.

My No-Wrong-Side hat pattern is coming to Ravelry, with an introductory discount, in just two weeks.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

A very good place to start!

I do love this timeline, because it will climax almost exactly one year to the date that it all began.

On November 29, 2016, I sent a proposal to The Fibre Co (maker of many of the very best yarns on the planet). I hoped to be selected as one of their Autumn/Winter 2017/18 designers.

That did not happen. Yet I was placed on a TFC potential designer list to receive an email announcement for their "Yarn Support for Indie Designers - Request no. 1".  

The request came in March.

My proposal went back in April.

Early in May, the email to let me know that my (really cool, uniquely reversible) hat was selected.I was selected as a designer for The Fibre Co’s Fall 2017 Yarn Support Programme!

I proposed the hat be knit in the yarn I used for swatching, the amazing lofty and light, bulky weight, Tundra, and TFC sent two skeins in the Taiga colorway.

(Note: Both photos in this post were taken July 26. My love of flowers, and color, and hummingbirds, and summer, all distracted me and lead me to take that first photo.)

The Fibre Co requested a late fall date for the release of my hat pattern. I selected November 28. It will be my grandmother's 110th birthday. I hope she knows how much she gave to me and how often I think of her.

The hat pattern will be available on Ravelry, November 28, 2017.

More to follow.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Our Rocky Mountain Trip - Part 1

Been blogging for a number of years now. Mostly about knitting. Mostly not about the personal.

One day, in mid-September 2017, Mr K and I hit the thing called our 30th wedding anniversary. To pre-celebrate, just a couple of weeks earlier, we took a trip to the great American northwest and the Rocky Mountains.

Been Insta-gramming all of this... (somewhat slowly)...

First there were the Cascade Mountains.

Mr K shot this one (with my iPhone) from the plane to Seattle.

After a tour of the city,

we took an overnight trainride to whitefish Montana... barely sleeping... passing through the almost 8 mile long Cascade Mountain Tunnel, arriving at sunrise in Whitefish Montana.

Lovely place that was...

This long distance view shows the hazy smoke from distant forest fires. We learned that forest fires are not always a bad thing (if controlled), in our national forests.

We were in a national forest and on top of the continental divide. And in the Rocky's.

If not on top of the world, it was definitely on the top of the continent.

That is Montana. 

Part 2 coming before too long.

It is very possible that new knitting will come sooner...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Long and Winding Road

I now have a couple more new designs to share with you.

If you have been following along, you might remember that my latest (3rd party) magazine pattern is my Walnut Cowl,

© knitscene/Harper Point

which currently is featured in Interweave Knits Fall 2017, now on newsstands and in knitting stores everywhere.

On Ravelry, my newest pattern, Godiva Mitts, is slowly becoming one of my most popular indie designs.

Then just before July came to an end, I learned that a book with two of my designs had been published.

© Daniel Shanken/Stackpole Books

© Daniel Shanken/Stackpole Books

What a long and Winding Road it has been!!!

My Winding Road Mitts and the companion Winding Road Convertible Cowl were designed in the Summer of 2014. They were selected to be published in a book tentatively titled 60-Minute Knits to be published by Stackpole Books in Spring 2016.
The book was put on a hold after the company was sold in December 2015. It was not put back into production until October 2016.
It seems a very long time ago for me in my design career. But finally, in July 2017, the book has been published with the title KNITS IN A DAY.

© Daniel Shanken/Stackpole Books

As editor Candi Derr wrote, “Sometimes when you realize you need a new hat or mittens--It’s going to be freezing tomorrow and I’m going hiking! It’s my best friend’s birthday and I don’t have a gift!--you need it NOW! This is the book you can turn to again and again for just the right pattern, knowing that every project in it can be completed in a matter of minutes or hours.”
© Daniel Shanken/Stackpole Books

BTW: This Winding Road Convertible Cowl took me about 2 hours to knit.

And these Winding Road Mitts took a little more than one hour each.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Godiva Mitts
I am very happy to have just released my latest indie design, GODIVA MITTS. Like most of my designs, it has been a long time coming...

The spark began last spring when I focused on the diamond shape of a single ‘aran’ fishermen’s style cable... I was looking at one beautiful cable, and I thought of fitting it onto the back of a hand to make a mitt -- allowing its gently tapering width to enhance the shaping of the mitt.

I had the image of a small, dainty, fitted mitt and I knew that I wanted it to be sweet and feminine. I decided to fill the cable with some lacy open-work.

Swatch on Hand
I charted and then swatched the cable panel using a skein of yarn in my stash, Knit Picks Capretta in the Cream colorway. Then, somewhere in between August and September I made the first pair of Godiva Mitts. 

First Godiva's in Knit Picks Caprette
My friends at Gosh Yarn It! loved them when I brought them in on a regular Thursday "knit night" in October.

After other design obligations were met, I made the second pair of Godiva's using a single skein of Mango Moon Mulberry Meadow in the Rain Cloud colorway. These have a longer cuff -- a simple change, but one that gives the mitts a different look.
Longer cuffed mitts in Mango Moon Mulberry Meadow

Finished Measurements
7½” [19 cm] un-stretched circumference (measured at widest point).
The cream-colored mitts are 7” [18 cm] long, with a  2½” [6.5 cm] cuff.
The gray mitts are 8½” [21.5 cm] long, with a 4" [10 cm] cuff.

140 yd [128 m] of fingering weight yarn for shorter cuff
175 yd [160 m] of fingering weight yarn for longer cuff

Size US 2 [2.75 mm] needles (two circular or set of double-pointed)
 Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

My Godiva Mitts pattern has been carefully written and tech-edited, after which I ran an extremely successful test knit on Ravelry. I love my test knitters!

This pattern is available on Ravelry at an introductory reduced price of $3.75 until midnight (GMT) July 21. After that the pattern will be available at its regular price of $5.00.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Walnut Cowl -- Knitscene Fall 2017

Now up on Ravelry!

(80% merino wool, 10% cashmere, 10% silk ~ 100% lovely)
in Cronan
4 (100g/175yd) skeins 

Thanks knitscene / Harper Point Photography for all of the great photos,
And styling that had my 27 year old daughter say, "I would wear all that."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Made in May / Coming in June / More in July

Made in May
The Gosh Yarn It Multi-Pane Mitten KAL
Multi-Pane-Mittens in neutral colorways
Yarn: Blue Sky Fibers Woolstock
in Gravel Road and Drift Wood

Coming in June
(next week, maybe, probably)
This is a January photo of my "boxed to send to Colorado"
Walnut (Cable Boxes) Cowl
My next magazine design!!!
Yarn: The Fibre Co Arranmore
in Cronan 

I have a new computer, surface book,
 I'm using a new browser, chrome,
 I now have a new photo editor, picmonkey,
I used it all to make this "teaser" photo
 of my next new indie knit design...

More in July
This is a photo of my left hand wearing a lovely little mitt
with an aran cable filled with lace.

My next indie design is now being tested
(more photos)

Friday, May 19, 2017

THE THUMB & MORE (Part 3 of 3 - The Afterthought Thumb)

This is Part 3 (of 3) of my mini-tutorial on the afterthought thumb used in making my Multi-Pane Mittens. Part 1 was THE FORETHOUGHT. Part 2 was THE PICK-UP.

We ended Part 2 with a slightly scary looking thumb hole. Please do not be afraid of the floats!

IF YOU ARE USING DOUBLE-POINTED NEEDLES... You will need to introduce another needle before you can knit in the round. I suggest that you place the first 5 sts from the lower needle on a third dpn.

IF YOU ARE USING TWO CIRCULAR NEEDLES YOU ARE READY TO GO. All photos will show the use of two circular needles, my own preferred needle type.

The first row of the thumb will be knit in color A. I suggest that you leave an 8-10" tail when you join A at the right side of the bottom stitches. (The reason for this will follow near the end of this post.)

Rnd 2: With A, k9... these will be straightforward,

pick up 1 st between bottom and top of thumb... make sure that you create the new stitch by going below at least two strands of yarn,

knit 9 sts for the top of thumb... ignore the floats attached to two of these... let them "float" behind your work,

pick up 1 st between top and bottom of thumb... once again, make sure that you create the new stitch by going below at least two strands of yarn,

– 20 thumb sts... Not so bad. Right?

Rnd 1: (Join B.) *With A, k1, with B, k1; rep from * to end...

Continue to follow pattern to finish knitting of thumb.

There is one more step to the afterthought thumb. More often than not you will have a hole on one or both sides of the thumb. If your holes are as noticeable as the one shown below, they will require a stitch or two to sew closed.

Usually you can use the tail that was created when you joined your yarn to begin knitting the thumb. (If not use a new piece of yarn and weave its end in to start.)

Turn the mitten inside out, and take little stitches catching just one yarn at a time.

Check the outside of the mitten before weaving in ends.

No more holes.

All that my mitten needs now is a nice bath. Stranded colorwork evens itself out beautifully after a gentle hand-washing.  Use lukewarm water and mild soap, rinse, blot out excess moisture and lay flat to air dry.