Monday, October 26, 2015

Mitten Pattern Collection Giveaway!

I've designed a mitten pattern for the lovely Canadian yarn and pattern company, Sweet Paprika Designs. My mitts, seen above, are the Frost and Twilight mitts.

From the website:
This mitten pattern is designed for the coldest of winter days. These mitts are knit using a simple four row slip-stitch pattern that creates a fantastically thick, squooshy fabric. Worked in worsted weight yarn they are a quick knit, and are sized for both children and adults so you can make a pair for everyone in the family.
 To celebrate the release of the mitten collection, Sweet Paprika has generously provided me with a copy of the collection to give away - all eight patterns included!

If you'd like to enter for a chance to win a copy of this mitten collection, please leave me a comment with your contact information, such as your Ravelry username. I'll randomly choose from among the comments on Friday, November 6th.

Good luck!

All photos are courtesy of Sweet  Paprika Designs

UPDATE: The winner is... Knittoc! Congratulations! We've been in touch on Ravelry and I hope you are enjoying your new mitten pattern collection.

Everyone, thanks for entering, and the mitten patterns in the collection are still available in a bundle or individually at Sweet Paprika Designs.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Spring 2014 Update

Lots of things have been happening here this spring, but unfortunately, I just can't show you very much of it yet! Suffice to say that I'll have lots of things to show off this fall. I have had a record number of submissions in the last few months, and I have been working hard to meet all my deadlines.

I have managed to sneak in a little personal knitting here and there. I finished the plain blue socks that I showed in the last post (which are now happily living in my son's sock drawer), and progress continues on the orange modified St. Brigid. I've also started another plain pair of socks, because I always like to have at least one pair on the go.

After the last project went off in the mail this month, I organized my yarn stash. For far too long, I have been pulling out the odd ball of yarn or two, then stuffing it back into the most convenient bag or box. Needless to say, it's been getting gradually more difficult to find anything in there. I recently took a couple of hours and took everything out.  I dusted out the yarn closet, put matching yarns together, and sorted the odds and ends by fiber. I took out some things that didn't belong there (wine corks? A curtain tie?) and gave a bunch of yarn scraps to my 4-year old to snip, tie, and tape to her heart's content.

My next project is another submission, followed by some work on a couple of patterns that I want to self-publish. I'm trying not to over-book myself though, since there are only a few days left in the school year before the kids are home with me for the summer. They will be the priority for the next couple of months!

Monday, March 3, 2014

January-February Update

January and February were fairly quiet for me knit-wise. Winter with two kids in school took a lot more of my energy than I was expecting, especially considering that we got (no kidding) 5 feet of snow in the last 2 months. The kids were getting some excellent use out of their knitwear during all the shovelling and car clearing time outside. My son even took his favourite knit hat on his first-ever ski trip last week!

The view from my back deck during a snowstorm. The lump on the right is the BBQ.

I did work on a bunch of designs to submit to various publications. I got a "no" this week, but it was only a day after getting a "yes" from another magazine, which helped to keep it in perspective.

For personal knitting, I've  been picking away at a very plain pair of socks, and a very complicated sweater.

In January, a small yarn and fabric shop opened up one block from my house. I found a small selection of decent sock yarn, but almost all of it was shockingly vibrant. This is the most subdued colorway I could find. I'm keeping the notes for this sock on the ball band. I don't know why I have never thought of this before. I know the format for my plain toe-up socks quite well and only need to record how many stitches to cast on, how many rows to make the foot, how many rows of ribbing I did at the cuff, etc. and this information doesn't really take up much room at all. The first sock is finished and the second is past the heel.

This orange sweater is a tweaked version of Alice Starmore's gorgeous St. Brigid pattern from her classic book "Aran Knitting". This was the first "real" knitting book I ever got, and I never grew out of it the way I did with some other books that I acquired during my early knitting years.

I am modifying the pattern to use thinner yarn, add waist shaping, change the neckband, add ribbing to the hems and cuffs, omit the fringe, and turn it into a cardigan. But other than that, it's exactly as written ;) Here's the back up to the end of the waist decreases.
I made a trip to a larger, out-of-town yarn shop just last week and bought some gorgeous yarn that I can't find here in town. I only bought one ball of each, as I just plan to use it for swatching. I can't wait to try out the fantastically soft and fuzzy pale blue angora!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

November-December Update

November seems to have gotten away from me - whoops!
I had two patterns published in November, both of which are especially exciting for me. The first was the Anarchist Socks, published in the Subversive Socks book from Cooperative Press. This is my first time being published in an actual book, and I love the idea of subversive knitting.
My other pattern published in November was Ephyra, which was published in the Winter 2013 issue of Twist. I have long been a fan of Twist and am delighted to be included in this gorgeous issue.

I don't generally knit for Christmas, but my son's class was fundraising for a trip to the theater and requested Christmas ornaments to sell, so I made this little guy from the Tiny Sock Monkey pattern by Mary Kate Long.

He took longer than I expected to make -perhaps 3 or 4 hours- and I couldn't bring myself to donate him to sell for only $2 (and the kids and I agreed that we really wanted to keep it), so he's now hanging on my tree.
Instead, I made a mini stocking from sock yarn. The kids had trouble parting with that, too, so I made them each their own mini stocking and duplicate-stitched their initials on the side.

I also finished my daughter's Hermione hat that I started back in October.

My favourite part of this hat is the liner. It is recycled angora (probably 70% angora and 30% acrylic) held double and worked in a slip-stitch pattern so that there are *four* strands of yarn lining the hat. This plus the recycled pink lambswool exterior makes for a very warm hat. Since the first half of December has been spectacularly cold here in Ontario, my daughter has been getting lots of wear out of this hat. 

I also had three (!) small patterns accepted for publication next fall, and I'm working away at meeting the January deadline for these. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Subversive Socks - Anarchist

Cooperative Press has released a new book entitled "Subversive Socks" that turns the notion that knitting socks is boring or sedate on its head. Imagine the inner smugness one would feel when secretly wearing knitted curse words under one's shoes, or knitting socks that reveal a secret message when viewed from just the right angle.
I'm happy to be a part of this book with my pattern, Anarchist.

Subvert the boot-heel of oppression by wearing the Anarchy symbol on your sock heel. Thick and thin stripes alternate along the leg and foot of the sock. The heel features a stranded color-work Anarchy emblem on the heel flap.

The sock are knit using two 50-g skeins of Western Sky Knits Aspen Sock (100% superwash merino) on US size 1.5 /  2.25 mm needles, and the pattern is written for three sock sizes.

I especially enjoyed the irony of being sent yarn to knit subversive socks in my old high school colours.

The book is available as a digital download from either Ravelry or Cooperative Press, and will be available in print next month.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October Update

It's feeling like fall here in Southern Ontario. It's sweater weather again, and there has been frost on the ground a few mornings lately, which meant it was time to go through all our warm outdoor clothing. Hats have been found, mittens have been matched up, and boots have been labeled with everyone's names.

My daughter has grown out of her favourite knitted hat (a Ron Hearts Hermione lace-and-cable hat in pale pink lambswool), but the matching mitts still fit, so I'm working on making her a replacement hat one size larger from the same yarn.

I've also been working on a few submissions for magazines. One proposed project had me pulling out my smallest needles - 1.5 mm (that's three zeroes in US sizing). I've been wanting to try them out since I bought the needles months ago, but didn't quite know what to do with them. Inspiration struck, and I pulled out my embroidery thread to knit up a teeny-tiny project. It was incredibly slow going at first, but I enjoyed the challenge and, with the help of some good, strong lighting, got into the groove after the first few rows.

As well, I have two cabled sweaters, one women's and one girl's, that I plan to self-publish shortly.  They are both achingly close to ready for test-knitting. Both sweaters are knit, photographed, and written up in one size. All that is left to do is the grading!

I was delighted to notice that one of my sweaters recently made an appearance in the Interweave Knits blog. Last week, Lisa Schroyer wrote about adjusting sleeve caps when customizing the fit of a sweater, and used her most recent project - my Fabrication pullover from the Fall 2013 issue of Knitscene - as her example!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Mountain - Three Free Hat Patterns

Spiral Path Beret
Finished Size: 18.5 (21.5)" band circumference

Yarn: Schachenmayr Original Boston (70% acrylic, 30% wool; 60 yd [55 m]/50 g), #00047 "Lavendel", 2 balls
Needles: US Size 11 / 8.0 mm dpns and US Size 10 / 6.0 mm dpns or circular needle
Gauge 12 stitches and 14 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch 
Cast on 8 stitches.
Round 1: k.
Round 2: [k1, yo] 8 times - 16 sts.
Round 3 and all odd-numbered rounds: k.
Round 4: [k2, yo] 8 times - 24 sts.
Round 6: [k3, yo] 8 times - 32 sts.
Round 8: [k4, yo] 8 times - 40 sts.
Round 10: [k5, yo] 8 times - 48 sts.
Round 12: [k6, yo] 8 times - 56 sts.
Round 14: [k7, yo] 8 times - 64 sts.
Round 16: [k8, yo] 8 times - 72 sts.
Round 18: [k9, yo] 8 times - 80 sts.
21.5" size only: Round 20: [k10, yo] 8 times - 88 sts.

Knit 3 rounds even.

Dec round 1: [k 8 (9), k2tog] 8 times - 80 (72) sts.
Dec round 2: k.
Dec round 3: [k 7 (8), k2tog] 8 times - 72 (64) sts.
Dec round 4 and all even-numbered rounds: k.
Dec round 5: [k 6 (7), k2tog] 8 times - 64 (56) sts.
21.5" size only: Dec round 7: [k 7 (8), k2tog] 8 times - 64) sts.
Work 1 round even. Using smaller needles, work in k1, p1 ribbing for 6 rows. Bind off. Weave in all ends.

Embarrassingly Easy Hat 

Size: Child (Woman, Man), shown in Child's size.
Finished Size: 18 (20, 22)" head circumference

Yarn: Schachenmayr Original Lumio (91% acrylic, 9% polyester; 82 yd [75 m]/150 g), #00022 "Lime", 1 ball
Needles: US 15 / 10 mm
Darning Needle

Gauge 8 stitches and 12 rows = 4" in garter stitch
Note: the same gauge may be reached by knitting with three strands of worsted-weight yarn held together

Cast on 18 (20, 22). Knit every row until piece measures 14 (15, 16)" from cast-on edge. Bind off.

Tassel (make 2): cut 3 24" strands of yarn. Fold in half. Separate into three two-strand sections and braid yarn. Tie end tightly.

Fold in half so that cast-on edge and bind-off edge are touching and sew side seams. Sew tassels to upper corners. Weave in all ends.

Shine On Beanie

Sizes: 20 (22)" hat circumference; shown in size 20”

-Main Colour: Bravo Big (100% acrylic; 127 yd [120 m]/200 g): #00150 Indigo, 1 skein
-Contrast Colour: Schachenmayr Original Lumio (91% acrylic, 9% polyester; 82 yd [75 m]/150 g), #00022 "Lime", 1 ball

Needles: US Size 15 / 10.0 mm needles and US Size 11 / 8.0 mm needles
Darning needle

Gauge 8 sts and 12 rows = 4" in garter stitch on larger needles

Note: This hat is worked flat from the bottom up.


With smaller needles, cast on 40 (46) stitches. Row 1 (right side): *k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row. Row 2 (wrong side) *k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row. Repeat previous two rows once more.
Next row (right side): 20" size only: using larger needles, knit across. 22" size only: using larger needles, k1, k2tog, knit across.  There are now 40 (45) sts. Work 3 more rows in stockinette stitch.
Begin chart (right side): k 15 (18), work row 1 of chart across next 9 sts, k to end of row. Work through all rows of chart. Work even until piece measures 7 (7.5)" from cast-on edge, ending with a wrong side row.

Shape crown:
Row 1: (k3, k2tog) across - 32 (36) sts.
Row 2: (p2tog, p2) across - 24 (27) sts.
Row 3: (k1, k2tog) across - 16 (18) sts.
Row 4: p2tog across - 8 (9) sts.

Break yarn and pull through all remaining stitches.

Cut 1.5 yd of contrast colour. Find the gray reflective thread and gently unwind it from the main strand of yarn. If the reflective thread curls when separated, pass it through boiling water or steam to relax the thread. Using the photos as a guide, thread darning needle with reflective thread and embroider lines radiating out from the star. Sew seam up back of hat. Weave in all ends.