Tuesday, December 15, 2015

BSA winner!

Congratulations to Manyakitty307, you have won a lovely squishy skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Sport!! If you would please let me know how to contact you (Raverly name? email address?) in the comments, then I we can sort out the details to get this pretty yarn to you quickly. 

Thanks to all who commented! Keep checking back with the blog often. I have big plans for giveaways in 2016!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Yarn Review: Blue Sky Alpacas Sport

I hope you have all taken a few minutes to explore the Knittin' Little website- a fun site with cute knitting patterns for kids and a well written blog by the creator, Andrea Sanchez. In September, she released the inaugural pattern collection for Knittin' Little, which included a design from me, the Sleep Fox Jumper.

Oh how I love this cozy dress and particularly love that sweet little fox! You can read more about the design here and here. Today, however, is all about the yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas' Sport.

This sport weight yarn comes from a company that creates luxurious yet affordable yarns. Blue Sky Alpacas provides generous support for designers and produces a quality yarn for their customers. I have knit with several BSA yarns before, but this was my first experience with Sport.

I admit I was hesitant about this yarn choice while swatching. It seemed stiff and not at all forgiving. Forgiveness is key with intarsia. After wet-blocking my little swatch, my patience paid off. What a result! The stitches really softened, settled down, and nestled together, which resulted in fabric with excellent drape and a pretty halo effect. The drape from the alpaca fiber gives the fabric an overall relaxed and comfortable look. I've always felt that intarsia motifs look a bit more polished and professional when the project yarn has a little halo to it.  My daughter Emma (the model), said the dress had a "swishy swirly feeling" when she walked, which is code for awesome yarn.

Petal Pink colorway

Today I have one skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Sport yarn in the Petal Pink to give away to one of my readers.  Be sure to leave a comment below sharing what you'd like to make with this bit of perfection. I foresee cute pair of fingerless mittens for someone.

I will select a winner using the online random number generator next Monday December 14. Be sure to include a way to contact you: email or Ravelry name. Until then, happy knitting!

Company: Blue Sky Alpacas
Yarn: Sport Yarn
Weight: sport weight
Fiber Content: 100% baby alpaca
Yardage:  110 yds (100 m)/ 50 g

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Yarn Review: Trinity Worsted

In early September, Sweet Georgia Yarns published a beautiful collection of autumnal patterns in Fall with Sweet Georgia, Volume 1.  I was fortunate to be among the contributing designers in this issue. What a treat to work with such a generous and positive yarn company! The real joy came when working with their beautiful Trinity Worsted yarn.

Just look at the silky sheen, smooth plies, and gorgeous color! Trinity Worsted yarn is a smooth worsted weight yarn with gorgeous drape. There is an illusion of heaviness while knitting with it, but never fear, once your item is blocked, the stitches settle and distribute the weight beautifully leaving you warm, comfortable, and very pleased with yourself for selecting this yarn. 

I love this close-up shot of my pattern, Slice, from the fall collection. You can clearly see the subtle blend of colors in each colorway. This pattern needs only 2 skeins: 1 in Nightwatch (main color) and 1 in Silver (contrasting color).

Each skein is packed with 200 yards and is made up of 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, and 10% silk. If you are an Anzula For Better or Worsted fan, then I encourage you to try Sweet Georgia's Trinity Worsted.

Company: Sweet Georgia Yarns
Yarn: Trinity Worsted
Weight: worsted
Fiber Content: 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, and 10% silk
Yardage:  200 yds (185 m)/ 4 oz (115g)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sleepy Fox Jumper

Hi knitting friends!

Today I am here to share more about my most recent design: Sleep Fox Jumper. This design is part of the inaugural collection from Knittin' Little, a website "where knitters come to find patterns for children and ways to engage their littles in the love of fiber arts." My friend and fellow knitwear designer, Andrea Sanchez, is the powerhouse behind this fun and fabulous site and I am proud to be part of her Fall 2015 Collection.

So how did my Sleepy Fox Jumper come to be? Like I used to tell my students, many many years ago... let's take a picture walk.

First I saw this...

Then I drew this...

And finally, out popped this...

This is my favorite picture.
This pattern comes in the many sizes: 12 months (18 months, 2 years, 4 years, 6 years, 8 years) and features Blue Sky Alpaca Sport weight yarn. I'll be sharing a review of this yarn in the next week or so on the blog. So stay tuned!

In the meantime, you can read more about this design on the Knittin' Little blog, where I was recently a guest blogger.

I bet you already know a little girl who look simply adorable in this jumper. So hop on over to Knittin' Little or Ravelry to purchase the pattern.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Yesterday, the first of my fall patterns was released: Slice. This scarf is part of the fall collection from Sweet Georgia Yarns.

 First, I must tell you that this was a fabulous company to work with. They were very positive, professional, and encouraging. And of course, their yarn is gorgeous to knit with. I sincerely hope I get the opportunity to design with their yarn and wonderful company again - such a pleasure!!

I had so much fun knitting this pattern. On the surface, Slice is a simple scarf with a fairly straightforward construction: ribbing on the top and bottom, slip stitched edging, and stockinette stitch body. The fun is in the movement. That's right, I said movement. But wait a second, I also said simple and straight, right? Yep, that too.

Slice gives the illusion of movement with a large all over intarsia motif. This scarf design was inspired by an image of a snowy owl. I love intarsia, especially when it can translate and capture movement. This design is not a literal translation of the owl image, rather an interpretation of the swoop and slice movement an owl’s wings might make while in flight. 

Trinity Worsted is the beautiful yarn Sweet Georgia sent me for this project. It is a smooth worsted weight yarn with gorgeous drape and is made up of 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, and 10% silk. Plus each skein is packed with 200 yards. I am just crazy about the subtle depth of color especially in the semi-solid colorways. Here is a close up of Silver, the contrasting colorway in Slice. 

Originally, I envisioned a long, oversized and possibly even bulkier scarf. However, who wants to pay $80 for a scarf? See, friends? I am thinking of your wallets. I have NEVER shared my  *cough*juevenile*cough*  sketches before. But in this case, I'd like you to get a better feel for what I pictured. Here is my original sketch...

How cool and cozy would this look if you doubled up on the yarn? Talk about super warm and squishy and heavenly!
Make sure you take a moment to flip through the fall collection lookbook. This collection is jam-packed with gorgeous and inviting knits that truly show off the beauty of the Sweet Georgia Yarns colors. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sneak Peek on Knittn' Little

 Hope on over to the Knittin' Little blog for a sneak peek of my upcoming design for this launch collection of children pattterns. I absolutely cannot wait to share this with you!

What are you waiting for? Check it out right now :).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Secret projects

Over the past 8 months,  I have worked on 6 new patterns that will be published this fall via magazines, book publisher, or yarn companies. I am happy to report that 2 will be coming out in the next two weeks. The rest should be available in October. The inspiration for these designs are quite varied. However, they all reflect my personality and style. I am quite proud of each one and am eager for you to see them.... but not just yet! In the mean time, here are some of the images that inspired the designs. Enjoy!

Modern lines

Feminine details 

Animals in nature 

Happy knitting!

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 About.com, 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!