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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

September Update

September is here, which is a very exciting time for knitters. Fall fairs are popping up all over the place, and outdoor events are the perfect occasion for pulling your favourite wooly sweaters out of summer storage. For some of us, the kids are going back to school, which for me means more knitting time. And as the weather turns cooler, gift knitters start thinking about getting ready for the holidays.
Interweave Knits has published their annual Holiday Gifts issue, and I'm happy to have contributed two patterns to this lovely issue.
The Beekeeper'sSlouch is a worsted-weigh hat with a honeycomb cabled brim that is knit flat, then joined with three buttons. The top of the hat is picked up and worked vertically in stockinette stitch.

The Everstar Scarf features a variety of six-stranded cable charts to keep the knitting interesting from start to finish. It is also worked in a heavy worsted weight wool yarn. This was originally named the Many Paths scarf (though I love the name Everstar), and I imagined it being an appropriate gift for someone with whom you have walked many paths over the years.

This month, I finished up a sweater in a gorgeous rich, deep purple yarn and sent it on its way to be photographed. I'm looking forward to showing the rest of the garment when the pattern is released, which might be as soon as next month.

September 22nd is Hobbit Day, which was celebrated at our house by watching The Fellowship of the Rings for the eleventy-millionth time. I had a sale to mark the occasion, which I forgot to post about here, so I am extending the sale.
Use the code HOBBIT2013 to get 22% off any of my Hobbit Knits patterns on Ravelry until October 14th! You do not need to be a member of Ravelry to purchase patterns from the site.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2013 - Beekeeper's Slouch and Everstar Scarf

I have two more patterns out this month in the 2013 issue of Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts!
The Beekeeper'sSlouch is a worsted-weigh hat with a honeycomb cabled brim that is knit flat, then joined with three buttons. The top of the hat is picked up and worked vertically in stockinette stitch.

The Everstar Scarf features a variety of six-stranded cable charts to keep the knitting interesting from start to finish. It is also worked in a heavy worsted weight wool yarn. This was originally named the Many Paths scarf (though I love the name Everstar), and I imagined it being an appropriate gift for someone with whom you have walked many paths over the years.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Mountain Hat Design Contest - Spiral Path Beret, Shine On Beanie, and Embarrassingly Easy Hat

To celebrate the North American release of their My Mountain line of yarns,  Schachenmayr is having a design contest. Contestants are invited to design a hat using one of the big, rugged, out-door inspired My Mountain yarns. The company was gracious enough to send me yarn to make two different hats to enter in the contest.

Spiral Path
There seems to be a spiral path going around my mountain, on which I come to the same issues again and again, but at a different level. Sharing, caring for myself, setting goals, and grappling with the expectations of others are all vistas from different sides of my mountain, but they mean different things at the elevation of a child, teenager, young wife, and now as a mother.

Another thing I keep happily returning to is purple, like the pretty purple shade of Boston (70% acrylic, 30% wool, 12 sts/4" on 8.0 mm needles) used for this slouchy beret featuring a spiral lace pattern.

Shine On
One of my mountains is sleep. I am seeing far too much of the stars these days; first late at night, and then again before dawn the next morning. While I miss getting enough sleep, I do enjoy getting to see so much of the stars, like the one on the front of the Shine On beanie.

This hat is knit in Bravo Big  (100% acrylic, 8 sts/4" on 10.0 mm needles) in a deep, indigo blue and has an intarsia star worked in a neon yellow shade of Lumio. The "shine" around the star is worked with the reflective thread untwisted from a strand of Lumio.
Embarrassingly Easy Hat
The skein of Lumio was so generously sized that I had more than enough left over from the Shine On hat to make this quick little hat for my daughter. This has is, as the name suggests, embarrassingly easy to knit. In fact, I finished most of this hat early one morning in the short time before the kids woke up.
I love a good, complicated knitting pattern, but when the climb up my own particular mountain gets particularly tough, I'm a sucker for a super-simple knit. This hat is composed of a long rectangle that is folded in half, then sewn down the sides. Braided tassels are sewn to the top corners for a little extra swing.

Patterns for all three hats are coming soon!

August Update

Summer is zipping by here and the unseasonably cool and non-sticky weather here in Ontario over the past few weeks has meant plenty of comfortable and pleasant knitting time.

So what have I been up to? I've had two patterns published recently, both in The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits, a special magazine from Interweave Press. It has already hit the newsstands in some areas, and is already available for digital download in the U.S. Unfortunately, it is not available for sale outside of the US due to copyright complications. Nevertheless, I am thrilled to have been a part of this issue.

My Severus Pullover was inspired by what Professor Severus Snape might wear if it became necessary for him to wear Muggle clothes. You can read more about this pattern here.
My second pattern included in this magazine is the Dumbledore's Warm Socks pattern, inspired by the scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Bloomsbury, 1997) in which Dumbledore laments that he has once again received books for Christmas, when what he really wanted was a pair of warm, woollen socks. You can read more about this pattern here.

While knitting up Dumbledore's Warm Socks, my three-year old daughter looked carefully at my work in progress, then announced "Mommy, you are making socks." I told her that yes, I was making socks.
"Are they for you?" she asked.
"No, these socks are for Dumbledore," I replied. She thought about this for a minute, then her eyes went wide with delight.
"Dumbledore is coming to our house!" she said, excitedly. I had a hard time breaking it to her that no, Dumbledore was not coming to our house, but that I was going to mail the socks to "Dumbledore" far away.

 This month, I've been working away on a sweater for an online magazine, which I can't talk about too much just yet. I'll post this small teaser photo and just say that yes, the yarn is every bit as soft and smooshy and delicious as it looks in the photo.

 I've also been having fun catching up on The Fibre Factor while I knit. I've just finished watching all the videos for Challenge 2, in which the designers must use colorwork on a big, boxy sweater, and am seriously impressed with the creativity, skill, and speed of all the competitors. I love watching them describe their design process and am feeling seriously inspired by all the stories, photos and places that the designers used as their own inspiration.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits - Severus Pullover and Dumbledore's Warm Socks

I am really excited about getting to be a part of The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits issue from Interweave this summer. I've been a fan of Harry since the first movie came out, and worked my way through the books starting when my son was old enough to read chapter books.


My Severus Pullover is inspired by what Professor Severus Snape might wear if it became necessary for him to wear Muggle clothes, such as for a covert mission for The Order of the Phoenix. Since he often had to wear poor-fitting clothes as a child, the adult Snape owns only a small number of garments that are excellently fitted and of top quality.
The Severus pullover features a central column of off-set cables reminiscent of flickering flames, flanked by narrow, serpentine cables. The sleeves feature the same serpentine cable, which travels the length of the sleeve and forms a saddle shoulder. Snape is often described as sweeping “bat-like” through Hogwarts in his wizard’s robes, so the sleeves of the Severus pullover are minimally tapered, as Snape does not care for restrictive sleeves.


My second project included in this magazine are Dumbledore's Warm Socks. Dumbledore’s Warm socks are designed especially for spending long hours in ancient, drafty castles. They are worked primarily in a specked rib pattern, whose heavy texture promises warm feet. Near the top of the sock, the initials “A P W B D” - for Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore - are worked across the front of the sock in contrast colour using duplicate stitch on a back-ground of stockinette-stitch squares fitted neatly into the specked rib pattern.
In "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," Dumbledore laments that he has once again received books for Christmas when what he longed for was a pair of thick, woollen socks. He never again mentions this desire in any of the books.

This is thanks to a conversation between Harry and Mrs. Weasley the summer after second year. After a day of buying school supplies in Diagon Alley, Harry has dinner with the Weasley family at The Leaky Cauldron. Conversation turned to Harry's recent release of Dobby the elf via the gift of a sock. They begin talking about the value of a good pair of socks and Harry casually mentions what Dumbledore told him in front of the Mirror of Erised. Mrs. Weasley, overcome with gratitude to Harry, who, with the assistance of Dumbledore, has recently saved Ginny in the Chamber of Secrets, vows to include Dumbledore in her Christmas knitting and to keep him well supplied with woollen socks every year.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fabrication Pullover


The Fall 2013 issue of Knitscene magazine arrived in my mailbox yesterday, and included my Fabrication Pullover.

The pullover is part of the Mock Cables section of the magazine and uses lace panels to give the impression of cables without ever twisting a stitch.  The large central braided lace panel is from the book "The Knitter's Guide to Stitch" by the always inspiring stitch designer Annie Maloney.

I'm quite happy with the finished sweater, but it is coloured in my memory by a frustrating experience knitting up the sucker. The lace pattern is not difficult, but I was not sleeping well at the time that I knit up the sample and had trouble remembering the pattern. It was a "two steps forward, one step back" process every time I noticed an error and ripped back to correct it. Bonus points to anyone who ignores the mistake I missed on the back of the sweater! I'm so embarrassed that it slipped my notice and ended up being photographed. Ah, well, lesson learned: photograph the finished garment (or even better, the garment pieces before sewing them up) and let the camera spot errors that I miss in person.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Chloe's Vest - Interweave Knits Spring 2013

I'm a bit slow in posting about this pattern, but it is in no way a sign of being indifferent about the pattern. In fact, being included in this publication was something I've been imagining for a very long time.

My Chloe's Vest was included in the Spring 2013 issue of Interweave Knits!
From the magazine:
"A simply shaped sweater vest is dolled up with a delicate lace inset. Vest is knit in three pieces with the inset worked from the center out."
The main portion of the vest is worked using two strands of fingering-weight yarn held together while the delicate lace inset is worked using only a single strand. The pattern is written for 34 (38, 42, 46, 50)" bust circumference and is shown in the 34" size, modelled with minimal ease.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Salacia Cardigan


I am delighted that my Salacia cardigan  was included in the Spring 2013 issue of Knitscene magazine!

This little cardigan was designed to create an hourglass shape with the biased lace changing direction at the waistline, cinched with a drawstring tie. The cardigan is knit using Valley Yarns Longmeadow (60% cotton, 40% microfiber; 117 yd [107 m]/50 g) at a gauge of  18 sts and 32 rows = 4" in left-slanting lace patt. The pattern includes sizes 34½ (38, 42, 45½, 49, 52½)" bust circumference.

The front cardigan edges are trimmed with faux i-cord slipped stitches. The modified v-neck follows the bias of the lace before cutting straight back to the shoulder. The hem and sleeve cuffs are trimmed with reverse-stockinette stitch which rolls neatly to the back of the work. The short sleeves end mid-bicep and are worked in an all-over eyelet pattern.

The top is designed to be worn with about 2" of positive ease and ends just above the hip.

The Salacia was a fun knit for me. Everything just seemed to fall into place with this pattern, and it slid easily off my needles with very little of the fussing and adjusting that often comes with knitting up the first sample for a design.