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.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ginger Snap Mitts

I have a fun new pattern for you all just in time for those nippy morning drives and chilly after supper walks.... the Ginger Snap Mitts.

These fingerless mittens were designed specifically for the grand opening of a new local yarn shop where I live: Harps and Thistles Yarn Imporium in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The pattern uses one Adorn Sock mini-skein bundle (this has 4 mini skeins equivalent to one skein of Adorn Sock) from Three Irish Girls Yarn. This is a perfect yarn for fingerless mittens, socks, gloves... anything that may take the beating from everyday use. The best bit is that this yarn, although hearty, feels lovely next to the skin.

Yep, I made real ginger cookies for the photo shoot.

The colorway I chose to work with is one I have been looking longingly at for sometime: Zuzu's Petals. This name refers to a famous scene from the film It’s a Wonderful Life, when George Bailey discovers he .... wait, I don't want to spoil the surprise! Let's just say you have to watch it yourself.  I have often wondered how George and Mary Bailey managed to name their children Janie, Pete and Tommy…such ordinary names from the 1940s... and then Zuzu, until I read that the name “Zuzu” came from the Zu Zu Ginger Snaps. And then it all made sense when George says lovingly to his littlest daughter, “Zuzu, my little ginger snap!” And thus, the Ginger Snap Mitts were born.

And of course I couldn't resist taking a bite!

They feature a double rib cuff and two-yarn stranded colorwork pattern. It looks more complicated than it actually is because one of the yarns needed for the colorwork is the variegated colorway. So don't be intimidated if you are new to fair isle. If I can knit it, you can knit it.

Are you hungry for tea and ginger cookies after looking at these pictures? Well, after you visit the yarn shop or the Three Irish Girls website (and then order the pattern of course!), check out this recipe and make the same cookies at home. They are so good.

Meet the Designer

Come see me this Saturday at Harps and Thistles Yarn Emporium, the newest yarn shop in the Akron area. Their Grand Opening starts tomorrow, October 3rd!

Hours: 10am-6pm Fri, Sat & Sun.

If you are at all within a 2 hour radius of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, then you must make the drive to see this new yarn shop. Harps and Thistles carries my FAVORITE yarn and will be showcasing it in a trunk show all weekend long: Three Irish Girls. Squeal!!

Come and pick up your very own Three Irish Girls yarn in the Akron inspired colorways: Cascade Valley, Furnace Run, Canal Park or Autumn Buckeye. Here are a few of the colorways below:

Cascade Valley on Springvale Bulky

Furnace Run on Springvale Bulky

Autumn Buckeye on Galenas Chunky

I will be in the store Saturday from noon-3pm with some of my designs including my brand new Ginger Snap Mitts that were created with a Three Irish Girls mini skein set. Cindy Michael, the owner of this beautiful yarn shop, has created a lovely fiber-friendly space for all fiber enthusiasts. I also understand that there will be tasty treats and door prize drawings!! How fun! Sounds like a great way to spend an hour or three. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back to School Sweaters

Yesterday, we had our first taste of fall weather... cool, damp, gray... I loved every minute of it. It was not to last, however, since here in north east Ohio we seem to be experiencing an Indian summer. That doesn't stop me from dreaming about sweater knitting.

My daughter, like so many children, went back to school a couple of weeks ago. I usually make her a "back to school" sweater in September but have yet to pick this year's pattern.

Will you be knitting for any kids or teens this fall? If so, here is a collection of beautiful sweaters to consider.

For little girls...
My Fair Maiden by Meg Roke

Berenice by Julie Hoover

Audrey's First Day by Elizabeth Smith

Bulle by Karen Borrel

Camilla Kid by Carrie Bostick Hoge

For little boys...
Fisherman's Pullover by Veera Valimaki

Treasure Vest by Kate Oates

Hemingway by Melissa Schaschwary

Wyatt by Michele Wang

Schenley by Jenn Emerson

For teens and college students...
Firefly July by Andrea Sanchez

Campus Jacket by Amy Christoffers

Ginny's Cardigan by Mari Chiba

Carpino by Carol Feller

Dragonslark by Maura Kirk

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mirage Scarf- Winner!

Congratulations, April (bunpeal on Ravelry), who has won a copy of the Mirage Scarf pattern AND one gorgeous skein of McClellan Fingering yarn. I'll be contacting you today to get your details to send you the yarn.

Remember to keep reading the blog! You never know when I might have another giveaway. (Hmm, I am dangerously close to hitting 20,000 views... might have to have a giveaway soon!)

Happy knitting!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Fair Maiden- Winner!

Congratulations to "amchart." You have one a copy of the My Fair Maiden pattern AND one skein of Canopy Fingering yarn! I will contact you to get your detail so that I can send you your loot!

Remember to keep checking back with the blog for new patterns and more giveaways. There is one going on right now!

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mirage Scarf

Who is ready for another pattern and yarn giveaway? 

The Mirage Scarf was first published by Three Irish Girls for their Eunice's Choice yarn club in June. It is a light and airy design perfect for summer or those first cool fall days. 

This scarf is worked flat with fingering weight yarn and larger needles, which creates a drapey, lightweight overall effect. It features an all-over zig-zag mesh lace pattern with an interesting twist on either end of the scarf: both ends are semi-circular.   

There are many many mesh scarf patterns out there. This simple rounded edge adds a little unique touch to make this scarf worth knitting.

The Mirage Scarf works well with any semisolid or variegated colorways. The yarn featured in this pattern is Three Irish Girls' McClellan Fingering. One of my all-time favorite yarns. It consists of 60% merino, 30% bamboo and 10% nylon.... a beautiful combination of softness (from the merino), drape (from the bamboo) and strength (from the nylon). I love knitting with this yarn for accessories. It feels wonderful on the fingers and needles. 

Here is your chance to win a copy of the pattern AND one beautiful skein of this yarn in the Arabian Nights colorway. Bonus! You only need one skein too! 
The colorway is Arabian Nights.

You may enter TWO times, IF you also go to the Ravelry pattern link here and "favorite" my pattern. Post in the comment with your favorite Three Irish Girls colorway is for one chance and then post a second comment saying you favorited my pattern to increase your chances of winning the yarn and pattern. Don't forget to share either your email address or Ravelry name so I can contact you with the good news! You have until next Tuesday to comment. On Wednesday I will select a winner at random and let you know who the lucky winner is.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Fair Maiden

Please say hello to My Fair Maiden.

I'm not going to lie. I am exceedingly proud of this design. In fact, I just love it. There was much squealing with glee when I first tried it on my daughter, Emma.

Last summer, my daughter became obsessed with the Disney film Brave and insisted on watching it nearly every single day. The magic of Merida's story led to her interest in reading stories, such as The Princess and the Pea, Rumplestiltskin, Rapunzel, and other fairy tales on a nightly basis. My Fair Maiden is an ode to the damsels in fairy tales and maidens like Merida (from Brave). 

This garment is a sleeveless tunic and was designed with two purposes in mind: to be worn in costume play with a full tulle skirt and princess hat like a hennin, or to be worn in every day wear like over a slim fitting shirt with a denim skirt and print tights. 

It features characteristics of medieval dress, such as a high wide neckline, a slim fit in the body, and a slightly lower waistline. Beneath the waist is a short skirt with inverted box pleats.

A knit ribbon (worked at a looser gauge to reduce bulk and weight but add extra drape) is tied in a bow on the back and rests on the pleats. The ribbon is knit with a contrasting color in stockinette stitch and is worked horizontally at a looser gauge to create a more “ribbon-like” effect.

She is reading the funniest book in this picture, "The Worst Princess."

My Fair Maiden was designed with one inch of positive ease at the chest - it is slim fitting after all!

 This design was knit with the most heavenly yarn, Fibre Company's Canopy Fingering. It is a delicious blend of alpaca, merino and bamboo, which creates a beautiful drape when knitted into fabric - perfect for those pleats and ribbon!

Since, as you well know by now, I have children with significantly larger than average heads, I needed the accommodate that in the design. So, there are two options for the shoulder: seamed or hidden knitted tabs with sew-on snaps. Emma is wearing one with the hidden tabs/snaps.

That sweet girl of mine happened to go through a growth spurt between the time I began working on the tunic and the time I finished. So if I were to make it again for her, I would add an inch or two in length to the body. Otherwise, I could not have been happier with the final result.

Now, here is your chance to win some loot! Comment below and share what your favorite fairy tale was as a child. You have one week to enter. Next Friday (August 22) I will select a winner at random to receive a copy of the My Fair Maiden pattern AND 1 skein of Canopy Fingering yarn in the Crocus colorway! You may enter TWO times, IF you also go to the Ravelry pattern link here and "favorite" my pattern. Be sure to post in the comment with your favorite fairy tale for one chance and then post a second comment saying you favorited my pattern to increase your chances of winning the yarn and pattern.