What I’m Knitting:
Stuff I can’t show here. But I’m on the home stretch with the bulky baby vest, and working madly on swatching for some new designs. Stay tuned–hopefully I’ll have stuff I can show off here in a little while.
In the meantime, let me distract you with…
What I’m Cooking:
I went a little nuts with the cooking and baking this week. Not pictured: a very tasty quinoa, lentil, and kale stew; butternut squash pasta; creamy tomato pasta.
First up, vegan enchilada casserole. I thought this was just okay, and not really worth the hour plus it took to make it. My husband seemed to really like it, though. The “cream” on top is made from soaked cashews:
These carrot cake pancakes are AWESOME. The cookbook says they’re perfect when you really want carrot cake, but it’s morning and you can’t justify it. They really are. Not too difficult, either–the most annoying part is grating the carrot.
Banana nut muffins, which I make fairly often because we somehow always seem to have overripe bananas:
And my favorite for the week: vegan eggplant “parmesan”! This recipe just has you sprinkle breadcrumbs between layers of eggplant, sauce, and dairy-free cheese. SO GOOD. I don’t think I’ll ever do the labor-intensive coating each slice thing again.
What I’m Reading:
I finished Isla and the Happily Ever After, so it’s back to middle grade! I picked this fun-looking book up at the library:
Hello out there! Blog posts have been rare around here since my son was born back in July, but I miss blogging regularly and interacting with other bloggers and crafters. So I made a resolution (about a week late, but hey…) to get back to regular blogging in 2015.
Here’s how I’m going to do it: every Friday, I’ll post a weekly update like the one below. To solve my ever-present problem of working on secret knitting projects that I’m not allowed to blog about, I’m branching out a bit. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here on the blog before, but my household is about 90% vegan (no meat or dairy products). Another one of my resolutions is to cook healthy meals instead of eating mostly frozen and pre-made entrees, so I’ll be sharing new recipes I’m trying. It should be fun!
I’m also going to be sharing books I’m reading, since I’m still working on getting books published and it’s important to keep reading in the genre that I’m writing. I’m hoping a weekly check-in will motivate me to plow through some titles on my to-read list.
Without further ado, here’s my first new post! :-)
What I’m Knitting
I’m working on secret projects. Quelle surprise. But there are a lot of them this time. I’m doing a baby/child collection for a yarn company which is going to include two hats, two sets of mittens, a scarf, and a vest. The yarn is hand-dyed and scrumptious. I can’t wait to show these off. I have all the samples knit except the vest, which is in progress. Bulky yarn + hand-dyed goodness = fun to knit.
Here’s a teeny little preview of one of the hats (really just an excuse to show off my adorable son):
What I’m Cooking
Here’s something that probably won’t surprise you: cooking interesting, healthy vegan meals day after day is hard. But I got this amazing new cookbook as a Christmas present:
I used to use internet recipes much more than cookbooks, but there’s something oddly satisfying about flipping to a recipe in a big, thick cookbook and consulting it as you go. Maybe that’s just me.
I didn’t think to take pictures of anything I made last week, so my foray into the world of food photography will have to wait until next week.
What I’m Reading
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.
This is kind of cheating, because I’m writing middle grade fiction (for ages 8-12), so I really shouldn’t be reading young adult. But I gave myself permission to cheat. I loved this author’s first two books (Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door), so I have high hopes for this one.
I have another fun interview with a fellow Indie Design Gift-A-Long designer today! Gillian has some adorable patterns in her Ravelry shop, and I’ve already seen several pop up in the KAL/CAL threads in the Gift-A-Long Ravelry group. I asked her a few questions about her design background and inspirations.
Triona Murphy: What inspired you to start designing?
Gillian Grimm: I’ve always been a tinkerer when it comes to patterns, in both sewing and knitting. I spent several years making adjustments to existing patterns to better suit my needs and that led to designing things from scratch. Once I started down that road there was no going back :)
TM: Your mitten patterns for kids are adorable! I especially like the Gnome Mittens and Little Hedgehog Mittens. What inspired you to start making them? Which one is your favorite?
GG: Well thank you! My animal mittens were inspired both by the creatures that lived in the woods around us and also characters from children’s books. I was especially inspired by Jan Brett’s The Mitten and some of her other picture books for my first round of animal mittens and I have some new picture book inspired mittens in the works that I hope to release during the GAL! I also draw inspiration from my children and their friends. I’m always looking for ways to create items that they will wear and love and have fun with!
TM: The name Birch Hollow is very evocative. Do you really live near birch trees, or are they just favorites of yours?
GG: Birch Hollow Cottage is, indeed, a real place. Until this spring we lived high up in the mountains in Vermont in a house surrounded by birch and maple trees, plenty of wild animals and two creeks. It was the perfect place to curl up in front of the wood stove with piles of wool and knit and dream away. We’re now living in an old house in Portland, Oregon, which we also love, although I’m not sure anyplace will every compare to our time in the Birch Hollow. :)
TM: Are you planning to participate in the Gift-A-Long as a crafter as well as a designer? If so, what do you plan to make?
GG: Definitely! We try to make Christmas each year as much about handmade and homemade gifts as we can. I’ll be picking out some hat and scarf patterns to make as gifts but I’m also on the hunt for a great sweater pattern that I can make for myself in the new year.
TM: What are your design goals for the next year?
GG: I’ll be releasing most of my animal mittens in adult sizes as well as introducing some more animals into the group. I’ve also got some fun hat projects in the works, plus I’d like to branch out more in the shawl area. I’ve got lots of sketches and ideas and I can’t wait to get knitting.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Gillian as much as I did! As for my own GAL knitting, I finished a present for my son’s first Christmas. Stay tuned for that soon!
As part of the Gift-A-Long 2014 festivities (check out the Ravelry group if you haven’t already!), I got the chance to interview designer/spinner/yarnie Tabi Ferguson. See below to find out more about her designs and her yarns!
Whew, lots of stuff happening around chez Triona Designs recently. I’ve released two more patterns:
Nolan Vest, which comes with instructions for v-neck and scoop neck as well as two different colorwork placements:
I’ve also been hard at work on several secret designs for yarn companies. Some of them are even for adults! Here’s a sneak peek of one that should be released this spring:
And last but certainly not least, I’m participating in the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long on Ravelry for the second year in a row!
If you’re not familiar with the event, check out the Ravelry group here for all the info. The fun starts this Thursday at 8 pm EST and goes all the way to the end of the year.
The prizes are killer this year (I personally donated some yarny goodness, but I saw at least a dozen things I’d love in the prize list!). I’m going to pick out a pattern or two that I’d like to make and jump into the knitalong fun.
I have several interviews scheduled with fellow Gift-A-Long indie designers coming up. Watch this space!
Now that my baby model has arrived, I’m working my way through pattern releases!
You may remember seeing the Ronan Cardigan sample a few months ago. Doesn’t it look better with my handsome model?
The pattern is available to purchase on Ravelry here.
Here are the specs:
0-3 mo (6-12 mo, 1-2 yrs, 2-4 yrs, 4-6 yrs, 6-8 yrs)
Actual Finished Measurements:
Chest: 16.75 (18.25, 21, 22.5, 24.75, 26.25)”, or 42.5 (46.5, 53.5, 57, 63, 66.5) cm
Length from bottom hem to top of neckband: 9.75 (10.25, 12.75, 15.25, 17.75, 20.25)”, or 25 (26, 32.5, 38.5, 45, 51.5) cm
Shown in 0-3 month size.
Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted (100% merino; 210yds/192m per 100g skein); color Emerald; 2 (2, 2, 3, 3, 4) skeins
US #7 / 4.5 mm circular needle, 16-32” long (depending on size being worked)
US #7 / 4.5 mm double-pointed needles, set of 4 or 5
US #8 / 5.0 mm circular needle, 16-32” long (depending on size being worked)
US #8 / 5.0 mm double-pointed needles, set of 4 or 5
4 stitch markers; cable needle; smooth waste yarn; yarn needle; 4 (4, 5, 5, 6, 6) buttons, 3/4”/20 mm in diameter
19 sts/28 rows = 4 inches/10 cm in reverse stockinette stitch on larger needles.
The random number generator has spoken:
Comment #5 is Katinka, who said:
“I usually want to knit all the things, all the time, but one specific fall goal is a red sweater. I just **need** a red sweater — it’s my happy color.
Love your cardi coat! Enjoy the time with your little guy — he’s about to get into a really fun stage of interacting back, if he’s not already.”
Congratulations, Katinka! Send me your address in an email to email@example.com, or a Ravelry PM to otismurph, and I’ll get the pattern book sent out to you!
Boy, people aren’t kidding when they say babies are a lot of work, haha. I’ve been working hard to keep up with my knit design work, and I’m afraid my poor blog has suffered. But I’m resurfacing to show off a new design!
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for your chance to win a copy of the pattern book that includes this design.
This is Roundstone Coat, from the Knit Picks Fall 2014 collection, Burnished:
The bold cable pattern is my favorite part of this coat. It’s challenging enough to keep your interest, but easy enough to be fun:
Here are the pattern details:
S (M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X)
35 (39.5, 43, 47.5, 52, 56.5, 59)” finished bust measurement; garment is meant to be worn with 2-3” of positive ease.
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky (100% wool; 137 yards/100g): Masala 24681, 9 (10, 11, 11, 12, 13, 14) skeins.
US 10 (6.0mm) 24-32” circular needle, or size to obtain gauge
US 9 (5.5mm) circular needle, at least 47” in length
Yarn Needle, Stitch Markers (at least 6 should be the removable type or safety pins), Cable needle, Stitch holders or Waste Yarn, 6 buttons, 1” to 1.25” in diameter
14 sts and 21 rows = 4” over St st, blocked.
Knit Picks generously provided me with an extra copy of the pattern booklet that includes the Roundstone Coat. The collection, Burnished, is gorgeous. There are at least half a dozen sweaters I want to make immediately!
For a chance to win the collection, leave a comment by the end of the day this Thursday, September 25th and tell me what you’re planning to knit this fall. On Friday, I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winner. (Contest is open to everyone, so international entries are welcome!)
You’ve probably figured this out from the month of radio silence…
We’re still adjusting to the new schedule, but Ronan and I are doing very well. He is generally very sweet-tempered. He does get grumpy sometimes, like when he’s waiting in the car with Daddy and Mom is taking too long in the post office:
He likes to be held most of the time, so figuring out how to get knitting done has been a bit of a challenge. I did have a breakthrough about a week ago when I figured out I could knit with him snuggled up in my Moby wrap:
I’d love to show off pictures of him modeling the baby knits I’ve been working on for the last few months, but unfortunately they’re all too big for him! He wasn’t a small baby (about 8 lbs and 20 inches long), so I think I’m going to have to revisit my sizing on those patterns. He’s growing at a rapid rate (he should be, with the amount he eats!), so hopefully it won’t be too long.
I did get a picture of him modeling my knit FO for the week, a baby hat for a friend who had her baby boy just a few days before I did. I think he sensed that this wasn’t for him:
Pattern: Garter Earflap Hat from Purl Soho (Ravelry link).
Yarn: Plymouth Superwash Worsted. I’ve had this yarn sitting in my stash for years and finally found something to do with it. It’s soft and squishy, very reminiscent of Cascade 220 Superwash.
Notes: This was a quick, fun, easy knit! Highly recommended. And the little tassel and earflaps, which are a little hard to see in the modeled photo of my wiggly son, are so cute:
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, aren’t I?
Pattern: My own (to be named). The hat and vest will likely be part of a baby collection I’ll be releasing sometime in the fall.
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Sport in Grass and Caution. I got the hat and the vest out of just one skein of the green and less than a half skein of the yellow. Baby knits are tiny.
I’m still impressed with the quality of the Knit Picks acrylic lines. The sport-weight version is just as soft and non-squeaky as the worsted-weight version I used for the baby blanket.
Notes: I went back and forth on whether I wanted to do the v-neck edging in the same yellow-green combo as the hems and armholes, but in the end I decided it would be a little too much yellow. I think I made the right choice. Plus the neckline flows better into the green buttoned shoulder band this way.
I’m planning to knit up another sample of this pattern in a different yarn and colorway, because I want the pattern to have the options of a round neck instead of a v-neck and colorwork placement near the hem instead of at the chest.
Bonus FO for this week:
Pattern: Golden Pear (Ravelry link) by Melissa Thomson
Yarn: Scroungings from my leftovers drawer… I think this is Dream in Color Classy (the brown) and some varieties of Cascade 220 for the cream and green.
Notes: Not my own pattern, for once (gasp!). I have a friend who’s going into labor at any moment, so I thought I’d whip up a quick little baby hat. I think this took me about 2.5 hours from cast on to weaving in ends, so it was definitely quick! The i-cord loop at the top twisted a little when I sewed it down, but I actually like the look better than straight, so it’s all good. This is going in the mail tomorrow.