Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Outlander knitting

This summer, I jumped on the bandwagon and began watching the captivating television series and reading the famous Outlander series by Diana Galbadon. If you have not looked into either... run, don't walk, to your nearest library and check out both. Rarely have I ever found a book translated so well into a television adaptation.

With a story that primarily takes place in Scotland, you can just imagine how fabulous the knitwear is in the costume department. Lots of earthy tones, rustic yarns, and textured stitch patterns.
It has been quite some time since I've presented a collection of themed knitting patterns (see Oh la la, Camping Knits, Vacation Knitting, or Back to School Sweaters for fun reads). So here you go - a collection of beautiful knitting patterns all inspired by the addicting Outlander series.  I'm up to my elbows in work knitting right now, but rest assured, once that is done, I will be picking one of these beautiful patterns and casting on. They are verra bonny, aye?

Outlander Cabled Mitts Arm Warmers by Esther Po

Coal-Duirn by Nikki Van De Car
Laoghaire's Mischief by Laura Ballard
Outlander Pattern for Claire's Cowl by Shelli Westcott
Outlander shawl by Rachel Roden
Claire's Capelet by Shelli Westcott
Highland Travel Shawl  by Carolyn Macpherson

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Deep Comfort Wrap

Grief comes to us all at one time in our lives, some more than others. For knitters, managing grief means we distract ourselves with the comfort of slipping fiber over our fingers and round a set of needles to transform simple string into something both beautiful and practical. Last fall, grief struck my family so I turned to wool and wooden needles for pain relief, and as expected, the strain and pressure of sorrow was slowly relieved. While working my way through this difficult patch, a new design was born.

The Deep Comfort Wrap was designed with two characteristics in mind. The first was to feature a repetitive stitch pattern that would be very easy to memorize and/or figure out while knitting so that the knitter wouldn’t completely rely on the printed directions, and could continue making those soothing fluid motions. The second was to create a knitted finished product that would make the wearer feel like a warm hug from a dear friend. 
The wrap is worked flat from the bottom up and features a 3” edge of ribbing on either end. The body of the wrap has a slipped stitch edge and is worked in a textured alternating diagonal stitch pattern. 

I love this wrap and had an incredibly difficult time mailing it to Kelly and Erin from Three Irish Girls Yarn. It is the perfect snuggle-up-on-the-couch-with-a-good-book wrap - warm, inviting, and heavenly to the touch. This design was part of Three Irish Girls' Eunice's Choice subscription in March 2015. It featured Vivie Alpaca Silk- possibly the loveliest yarn on the planet - not too itchy and super soft with fabulous drape qualities. 

I love the colorway too - May the Road Rise to Meet You. I could not have picked a better name to go with this yarn.  My mother had a cross-stitched picture of this famous Irish blessing in our kitchen when I was a child. My great-aunt read this poem aloud at my wedding ten years ago. It represents the deep love and comfort that family and friends share.

If you think you may have seen this wrap before, that is because it was on display at the Three Irish Girls' trunk show at Harps and Thistles Yarn Emporium and at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival in March.  

This pattern is now available for individual purchase through my Ravelry store.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Back from TNNA

This weekend, I attended the TNNA trade show in Columbus, Ohio. What is TNNA? Well, friends, pull up a chair and prepare to be jealous.

Waiting for the doors to open.

TNNA stands for The National NeedleArts Association. In the summer they have a trade show which gives yarn companies (think big like Universal Yarn and small like Fiberstory), notion companies (everything from bags, scissors and yarn caddies), and designers to share new and popular products with yarn shop owners. Designers who attend these shows go to see the products too, brainstorm new ideas, make great connections, and of course catch up with fellow crafty friends.

 Andrea Sanchez, me, Andi Smith- I have no idea what I am trying to do with my shoulders in this picture?

This was my first time attending the event, and boy, was it fantastic!!! I was introduced to so many talented designers, saw some BIG names, met a really positive book editor, petted the loveliest yarns, and chatted with incredibly friendly yarn reps. Best of all, I got to spend time with two designer friends who showed me the ropes.


On this trip I met the owners of two companies that were new to me: Kismet Fiber Works and Fiberstory.

I was blown away by the presentation of Kismet's booth- so creative and so inviting. I could not stop myself from reaching in and squeezing the beautiful yarns. Here are two pictures of just one feature from their beautiful booth. Also, Stephanie, one of the co-owners, was so enthusiastic about supporting designers-- loved her attitude.

Their Sleek DK is something I hope to knit with in the near future... now I just need to think of something to make! Plus the co-owner I met could not have been nicer.

Sarah, the owner of Fiberstory, displayed a booth full of "Meg colors" lots of gorgeous tonals and subtle shades. This sweater was the first item to catch my eye. Wishing I remembered the name of this pattern, but it was made from the squishy Lush Aran I believe.

 Sarah had the loveliest gradient sets too... I think she said there were 7 colors to a set, which makes for a more subtle shift of color. Very very pretty.

I am MOST excited, however, to knit with the skein of Cumbria given to me by Kate from Kelbourn Woolens. Kelbourn Woolens distributes the heavenly yarns from The Fibre Company. (Remember when I made this sweet top with their Canopy Fingering?) This is their newest worsted weight yarn made of 90% wool and 10% mohair. It is earthy, strong, inviting to touch, and has a little halo/loft as well (thanks to the mohair). I foresee some texture stitch patterns in its future.

Other great moments include chatting with Verity from Baa Ram Ewe, Elizabeth Green Musselman from Dark Matter Knits, Michelle Miller from Fickle Knitter, Sarah White from, Allyson Dykuizen from Holla Knits, and Candy from Stackpole Books.  All in all it was a fun (yet exhausting--- oh so much walking- and not in sneakers) trip! Next year it will be in Washington, D.C. Fingers crossed that I'll be able to go!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Getting Caught Up


6.5 months?


Yes, it has truly been that long since I last visited with you and shared my crafty thoughts on this blog.  And boy, it has been a busy six months! Here is a quick summary of that time:

4 new patterns released

6 additional patterns accepted for publications through yarn companies, online and print magazines, and books

weekly teaching at my LYS

And of course...swatching, swatching, and swatching!

So expect to see (or rather, read) lots from me in the next six months. Don't be surprised if there are yarn reviews, book reviews, yarn GIVEAWAYS, and pattern GIVEAWAYS too!  
In the meantime, happy knitting! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Interview with Kristen Jancuk

As a participant in the Indie-Design Gift-A-Long, I have the pleasure of interviewing a fellow knitwear designer! What a great opportunity to get to know talent from a different part of the country! 
After you read a little bit about Kristen Jancuk, pop over to Ravelry to see which patterns she is offering in the GAL

She has some beautiful colorwork accessories...

and fun textured designs too!

First, let's learn more about Kristen.
Designer name: Kristen Jancuk
Ravelry name: MediaPeruana

How did you initially get started in knit-wear designing?I first approached it as a challenge--I'd like a thing that looks like X, can I do it? And write instructions clearly enough so other people could do it too? So I tried, and found I could do it, and really enjoyed it. So I just kept going!
Do you have any designing goals or aspirations?
I'd like to branch out into more garments--I have several sweater designs planned out, I just need the time to work on them!
I'd also love to do a collection inspired by Peru--and photograph it in Peru! It's not too far-fetched, my husband is Peruvian and we have  opportunities to travel there, but working out the timing would certainly be a challenge!
How would you describe your design style?
I always struggle with this kind of question--I take inspiration from so many different places, and really don't see any cohesive element in my designs!
When the knitting needles are down, what do you like to do in your spare time?
These days spare time is pretty hard to come by, I have my hands full with 2 little boys--21 months and 3 months! I enjoy wine tastings, reading magazines, baking, vegetable gardening, and preparing food for my toddler that he refuses to eat. ;)

Now, let's talk about the GAL!
How did you first hear about the Indie-Design GAL? And what made you decide to participate?
I read about it last year in the Designers group, but couldn't get my act together to participate. When I saw they were doing it again, I knew I had to give it a try! I love that it's a chance for indie designers to work together to promote their collective work, and to celebrate the upcoming holidays in a new way.
Do you plan to participate as a knitter during the GAL? If so, what are you planning to knit? If not, what do you WISH you were knitting? I'm trying to knit Hanna Maciejewska's All That Jazz hat, but I have so much going on, I'm not sure I'll finish!
From your designs, which one do you feel is a perfect pattern to make and gift? and why? I have to go with the Nevado hat. It's an easy to memorize combination of cables and waffle stitch, it comes in 3 sizes, and it's quite stretchy, so it really works for everyone.
Thanks for the chat, Kristen! 
Happy knitting, all :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Indie Design Gift-A-Long 2014 is a-GO!!

Fellow knitters and crocheters, are you interested in a good sale? The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is in full swing on Ravelry!

Not familiar with  Indie Design Gift-A-Long?

Well let me enlighten you. This is an annual special event on Ravelry involving knit-a-longs, crochet-a-longs, pattern sales and PRIZES!!!! There are nearly 300 designers (including ME!) who are participating this year, offering 25% off select patterns from 8pm EST TODAY (November 13) to 11:59pm EST November 21st, enter coupon code giftalong2014 at the checkout to get a 25% discount.
Check out the group (no obligation, just fun!). There will also be KAL/CALs too throughout the holiday season in this group for fellow crafters and designers to help support each other through all the gift knitting.

 To see the list of designers participating (and to easily get to their designs) click HERE or go to the "List of Participating Designers and Patterns" thread. Two of my FAVORITE designers are also participating: local Akronites Andi Smith and Andrea Sanchez. Be sure to take a peek at their patterns too!!

I have plans to make Andi's Black Bunny cowl this season. How cute is this? Plus it is in DK/light worsted weight yarn, so it will knit up quickly for me.

 And I think my son Tommy will be getting a new hat too: Andrea's Sardines!

Now to find yarn for these cute projects... woe is me.

Happy crafting!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Kelbourne Woolens

If you have never knitted with The Fibre Company yarns, then get thee to the nearest yarn store pronto! The Fibre Company produces the most heavenly yarns imaginable, which are distributed by Kelbourne Woolens near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (my home away from home). 

I recently had the pleasure of designing the My Fair Maiden tunic with Canopy Fingering in these two beautiful colorways. 

There is something so satisfying about the perfect marriage of the right yarn with the right pattern. This is how I felt about My Fair Maiden and Canopy Fingering. I love everything about the final product.

This past week, my design was featured on the Kelbourne Woolens Blog. I hope you will pop over to read the very talented Kate Gagnon Osborn's post and keep checking back to read more about this wonderful company and divine yarn.