Well geez, posts have been thin on the ground around here, haven’t they?
But I have a very good reason, I promise. Ready?
I’m pregnant! My current WIP that’s taking up an awful lot of my time and attention is a baby boy or girl, due to be completed around the first week of July 2014. This is the first baby for me and my husband. We’re really excited (and I’ll be even more excited when the all-day “morning” sickness subsides, yuck).
You know what this means, right? Baby knits! (And possibly baby designs… but that’s a little further down the road.)
I whipped up these booties for our announcement post on Facebook:
They’re Saartje’s Booties (Ravelry link), which I’ve made for several other little ones… but it was a thrill to make them for my very own baby! I used some Madelinetosh Sport left over from my Put Together vest to make them nicely unisex.
We’re probably not going to find out the baby’s gender ahead of time, so I’ll be on the hunt for yarns and patterns that work for boys or girls. Any suggestions?
Boy, things have been crazy around here! Rhinebeck was awesome, and I promise to have a post up on that in the next few days. But in the meantime, I have had not one, not two, but three new sweater patterns released this week! So as not to overwhelm this post completely, I’ll space them out into separate posts.
My inspiration for this sweater was my love of Aran patterning, but I wanted to keep it simple because it’s easy for cables to overwhelm a sweater. I knew I wanted a large front cable, and two smaller ones. Making the side cables wavy seemed like a good way to add a modern touch.
Here are the FO details:
Pattern: My own Reilly Pullover
Yarn: Swish Worsted in Marine Heather (the green sweater is in Jade). I really, really like this yarn. It’s soft and nice to work with, but as you can see, cables pop just as well as they do with a stickier, more rustic wool.
Notes: This sweater combines three of my favorite elements: cables that are complex but not hard to keep track of, a v-neck, and raglan, all-in-one-piece construction.
Stay tuned for more Rhinebeck pictures!
I have an older FO to show you today: Francie Scarf, from the upcoming book Hitch: Patterns Inspired by the Films of Alfred Hitchcock!
Francie is a lace scarf with strong diagonal lines and a double moss stitch border, inspired by Grace Kelly’s wardrobe in To Catch a Thief. The scarf is big enough to wrap around the head, but it’s also thin enough to tie around the neck.
I’m not much of a lace knitter, but this stitch pattern was perfect for my tastes: simple enough to be easily memorized, but challenging enough so I didn’t get bored.
I’ve gotten a chance to look through the whole Hitch book, and let me tell you, there are some spectacular patterns. It’s available for pre-order as of yesterday (and you get an awesome bonus pattern for a cute cowl).
I’m running my biggest promotion ever to celebrate my 30th birthday tomorrow: 50% off any self-published pattern in my Ravelry store with the coupon code 50for30. The sale goes through the end of the day tomorrow (US Eastern Time).
Official business out of the way, here’s the FO Friday post for my Madelinetosh Twist DK vest!
We had a blast with the photoshoot. I wanted a fun vibe, since the vest is a little more kooky than some of my pieces. I think it turned out pretty well!
Pattern: My own Creme de Menthe pattern, which will be in testing in the next few weeks and probably released in… late September? Early October?
Yarn: Madelinetosh Twist DK, two skeins of Bluestem Willow and one of Farmhouse White. I can’t say enough good things about this yarn. Squishy, springy, delightful to knit with. It’s only available through the Madelinetosh shop, and I confess I’ve been stalking it a bit for a sweater quantity in a deep green or blue.
Notes: Gosh I love this vest! I decided up front to do 2:1 stripes through the body, which made things very interesting when it went from knitting in the round to flat. But that was perfect–after all that stockinette, the interest of having to read the knitting and push the work from one side of the needle to the other added just the right amount of interest.
I’m writing the pattern with two different sections for that part: first, there will be a little summary for those who have some experience or feel comfortable checking it themselves. Second, there will be a table with row-by-row instructions for those who need a little more hand-holding. This is a new format for me, so I’m interested to see how my testers like it!
The planned stripe effect on the shoulders turned out great, if I do say so myself:
Whew, it’s hard to keep up with blogging when most of your projects are secret! But the last one of those was packaged and sent last week, so hopefully it should be a little more action-packed around here.
First up, I finished the Creme de Menthe vest. No modeled pictures because it’s still blocking, but I’m really happy with the way this one turned out. The alternating stripe concept that was the basis for the whole idea turned out great!
Also, I’ve resurrected the cozy gray sweater! Remember this one?
Last time I mentioned it, this one was on hold due to some disappointing pooling. I pulled it out a few weeks ago to get myself psyched up for the ripping and re-knitting… but to be honest, it didn’t look nearly as bad as I remembered.
I think part of the reason I was so down on it was some pictures taken with crappy indoor lighting. That highlighted the striping effect of the second skein and made the sweater look awful. So we took some better shots–and I love it! I’m working on getting the pattern finalized and getting it into the hands of test-knitters. I’ll probably aim for an October release with this one.
Oh, but it needs a name! I’m calling it “Cozy Gray” in my head, but that isn’t going to fly for the pattern release. You guys were so helpful with my hat pattern a few months ago–any thoughts on this one?
I finished the large design and shipped it off, woohoo! Although I still have a few commissioned accessories I’m working on, with the sweater load off my shoulders, I allowed myself to start a new design.
Here’s the sketch (which I did in about 10 minutes using Adobe Illustrator–I’m getting pretty good with that program, if I do say so myself). I really like the idea of a vest with skinny stripes running perpendicular to each other, so that’s what I’ll be attempting. It’ll either be cute or a mess… but that’s part of the fun of designing, right?
I’m using the Tosh DK Twist I showed off in last week’s post, and man is this stuff lovely. It’s as springy as Tosh Vintage, but lighter weight and softer. I’m an addict after only a few inches:The tank is bottom up, in the round to the armholes and then back and forth. The 2-1 stripe pattern I’m using will necessitate pushing the work back and forth on the circular needles to keep the stripe pattern correct when it’s worked flat, but I tried it on a swatch and it’s actually kind of fun. You have to think about the fabric you’re making on each row, but that helps alleviate the boredom of endless stockinette. :-)
Also: I thought of a name for this design right away, which almost never happens. It shall be Creme de Menthe. Perfect, isn’t it?
Thanks to lightning-fast shipping from Knit Picks, I got my extra skein of Gloss DK this week and finished Concord, too!
I finished my scarf! Here it is blocking:
I learned from the first (DK-weight) sample that this pattern pulls in a lot, since it’s basically 1×1 ribbing with regular increases and decreases thrown in. So I was rather aggressive with the blocking this time, knowing it will spring back a certain amount when it’s unpinned.
Pattern: My own Europos Scarf
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios, one skein in Vaa. Rios is in the running for my favorite yarn ever. It’s as soft as butter, but fairly hard-wearing thanks to the twist.
Notes: I luurve this pattern. It’s just interesting enough to not be boring, but it’s easily memorized. Perfect travel knitting. It pretty much lived in my purse for the past week. This pattern played really well with the variegated quality of the yarn, too. It was so nice to not have to worry about pooling.
In other news, the Bevin sweater re-knit is nearly completed too! Just a few ends to weave in and blocking left.
Now, maybe you’re wondering why I’m spending all this time and effort reknitting samples when I could be working on new designs. The truth is, I have an exciting month ahead of me. My wonderful print pattern distributor, Stitch Sprouts, offered me the chance to share time in an exhibitor booth at the TNNA summer trade show!
For those of you who don’t know, TNNA is an abbreviation for The National NeedleArts Association. Their annual trade shows are a big deal–loads of knitting and fiber related businesses, yarn store owners, and very well-known designers attend. I’m feeling a little bit out of my depth, to tell the truth, but I’m slowly getting a handle on everything I need to get done in order to have a successful booth.
Stay tuned for more preparations!
I finished a hat this week! (Okay, actually I finished it the week before, but finally got it together to take some pictures this week.)
It’s in Tosh Chunky, just like Dandelion Clock (pattern now available on Ravelry here!). Man, do I ever love this yarn. It’s just like Tosh Vintage, which is probably my favorite yarn ever, except FOs get done even more quickly. This color is Mica–isn’t it pretty?
Usually I have to rip out and reknit the decreases at the top of a new hat design a few times until they look right, but this one made this pretty floral-looking design on the first try! Bonus. :-)
I finished a new hat this week!
Pattern: My own (probably will be released this month, depending if I decide the pattern needs testing)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky in Natural. While the yarn was as squishy and delicious to knit with as ever, it was sort of bizarre to have colorless Madelinetosh. I really love the dyeing, so I think I’ll probably stay away from this shade in the future. I do like the color with my reddish hair, however!
Notes: The lace and cable pattern I decided to use seemed very straightforward… until I tried to convert it to knitting in the round rather than flat. Many swatches later, I figured out that the end of round marker needs to be moved forward one stitch at the end of each pattern repeat. That also gives the hat a neat spiral effect.
I decided to do a cable-cast on instead of my usual long-tail, because it plays more nicely with the garter stitch brim. The cable-cast on hurts my hands, and I find it much more fiddly than the long-tail, but I think the results were worth it. You can see the cast-on edge pretty well in this work-in-progress pic:
Here’s the official FO Friday post for the new vest! I put it up for testing yesterday and have several people signed up already, woohoo!
Pattern: my own, tentatively scheduled for release mid-May. Oh, and I decided to go with “Concord Grape Vest” as the name. Concord by itself was making me think of the Concorde–not exactly the vibe I’m going for.
Yarn: Cephalopod Yarns Traveller in Finger Lakes, 2 skeins purchased at Rhinebeck last year and about a tenth of a skein from a nice Raveler who destashed to me when it looked like I would definitely run out.
This yarn is delicious. It’s springy and nice to knit with, and the colors… well, those pictures are unretouched. That’s really what the colors look like in person.
I do highly recommend alternating skeins, however. My three skeins were all completely different, to the point where I know I would have had big blotches of color if I hadn’t alternated every two rows.
Notes: Although I usually try to avoid sewing seams, I wanted to knit something a little more portable than my recent projects (gray sweater, I’m looking at you…). A vest in pieces was perfect. And the seams are short enough that it wasn’t too bad. I’m starting to actually like mattress stitch, can you believe it? It’s fun to see the pieces come together like magic.
Knitting the front and back separately helped me concentrate on the slightly unorthodox shaping, too. Since I wanted the armhole and neck edgings to be knit along with the main piece, I couldn’t do any traditional binding off at the beginning of rows–so the whole thing is shaped with double and single decreases, just inside the twisted rib edging. It was challenging to get the right ratios for the curves I wanted (there are sections with double decreases every row, then double decreases every other row, then single decreases, etc.), but I figured it out!
All in all, I’m pretty dang happy with this vest. It came out just like I envisioned it. :-)