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WIP Wednesday: It’s a Big One! (Well, so to speak…)

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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:

Saartje's Booties

 

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?

FO Friday and New Pattern Release: Reilly Pullover

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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.

First up: a design in Knit Picks’s newly released Swish Collection, the Reilly Pullover!

KP Reilly PulloverAnd here’s the original sample, the FO I couldn’t show you back around this time last year, in its glory at Rhinebeck:

Reilly at Rhinebeck

Forgive the slightly glazed look and the slumped posture-it had been a long day! 

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.

KP Reilly top

Stay tuned for more Rhinebeck pictures!

WIP Wednesday: A Bunch of Teasers

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Well geez, it’s been quiet around here lately, hasn’t it? It’s the usual reason: I’ve been working on commissioned designs that I can’t blog about. But I’m wrapping up the last of those today, just in time for…

Rhinebeck banner

My husband and I are hopping in the car on Thursday, driving to Buffalo to see a good friend, and then driving to Rhinebeck on Friday. We’ll be at the festival Saturday and half of Sunday, and then we’re going down to the Washington D.C. area to see family. Whew!

I have my car knitting all planned out. It will be fingerless mitts to match a hat I just designed, featuring this cable motif:Keelback teaserI’m working on something exciting this fall: my first pattern collection! That’s another reason you haven’t seen much around this blog recently. It will include the hat and mitts above, a heavily cabled, fitted sweater, and at least two more patterns (probably another sweater or vest and a scarf/wrap).

My husband has family who live near Lake Tahoe, so I’m thinking of scouting out some photography locations when we go out west for the holidays. Anyone know anything about that area in the winter?

 

 

 

WIP Wednesday: A Sleeve and a Group

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The yellow fall pullover now has the body and one sleeve finished:

 Melany sleeve

I’m about 1/3 of the way through the other sleeve, and then it’s on to the yoke! I was planning on a raglan sleeve, but I’m starting to wonder if I wouldn’t like a saddle shoulder better. I’m going to contemplate this as I knit tonight.

In other news, I’ve finally started a Ravelry group for my designs! I’ll be posting test knits (like the cozy gray sweater, which went up for test knitting yesterday and is almost full already, yay!), promotions, new designs, and lots of other stuff there. Come check it out here if you’re interested: Triona Designs Ravelry Group.

WIP Wednesday: So Close

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(I know, I know, it’s Thursday. I got busy yesterday and didn’t manage to get a post up. I won’t tell anyone if you won’t!)

Most of last week was spent working on my Concord Vest re-knit for the Knit Picks Independent Designer program. Everything was going along swimmingly until I got to the last part of the back:

Concord almost doneAnd ran out of yarn. *facepalm*

Usually underestimating yarn requirements isn’t a problem for me (if anything, I tend to go in the other direction), but somehow I screwed up on this one and need another fourth of a skein or so. Luckily Knit Picks has the same dyelot still in stock, so they’re graciously sending me out another skein.

So while that’s on hold, I’ve been working on crunching the final numbers for my secret designs, because I have to have them finished to be able to work on a design using… drumroll please…

Tosh Twist DK..this gorgeous yarn, which arrived yesterday! This is highly coveted Madelinetosh DK Twist in the Bluestem Willow and Farmhouse White colorways. It’s going to be a new striped vest design, which I already have planned out. I’m participating in the Twist and Shout KAL in the Madelinetosh Lovers group on Ravelry, so I have to wait until Monday to cast on. Expect to hear more about this design after that!

Oh, and I realized I got some yummy yarn last month that I forgot to show off here. As a participant in the Madelinetosh Lovers Rav group’s Mad May festivities, I was eligible to win prizes, and I was delighted to win a random drawing for two skeins of Tosh MCN Fingering donated by a lovely group member:

Tosh MCNThe colorway is Fluoro Rose, and let me tell you, it is bright. Photographing it accurately took me a lot of tries! It’s not a color I would normally have chosen, but I really like it. It’s a blue-ish pink rather than a reddish one, which definitely is more my color. I’ll have to figure out some properly eye-searing accessories for this yarn. :-)

Day 1, The House Cup: 4KCBWDAY1

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knitting and crochet blog week banner

 

 

 

 

The first prompt in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week asks us to examine four different houses (a la Hogwarts) and choose which one best identifies with our own crafting style.

I chose The House of Monkey, which is described as follows: Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting. 

House of Monkey

(You can see the rest of the house choices and their descriptions here.)

It’s not so much that I have to have adventure and excitement in my knitting, it’s more than I tend to fall in love with projects or design ideas, regardless of difficulty level. Pretty much from the moment I started knitting, I identified myself as an adventurous beginner. If I wanted to make a project badly enough, I’d jump in with both feet and learn how to do any new techniques as I went along.

I got tired of scarves and basic hats really quickly, so about a month in I decided to try some socks. I muddled my way through learning how to use DPNs, how to do a heel turn, and how to do kitchener stitch:

Kari's socks

Clearly I didn’t learn how to alternate skeins quite yet…

I tried a couple of garments that failed spectacularly, so after about six months of knitting I bought some yummy Berroco Ultra Alpaca and decided to cobble together a bunch of elements from different patterns to create my own unique sweater.

Ultra Alpaca Sweater

It actually turned out better than I had any right to expect–that is, until I realized the uncontrollably itchy nose I’d had the whole time I was knitting the thing wasn’t an oncoming cold, but in fact an alpaca allergy. Sigh. But I digress.

I’m still doing this jump-in-with-both-feet thing in the present day, too. For my newest design, the Concord Grape vest, I fell in love with the idea of knitting the armhole and neck edgings along with the body, so there wouldn’t be any need to pick up stitches afterward. To do this, I had to figure out how to do all shaping without interrupting the edging pattern, which meant double and single decreases on the RS and WS of the work–some of which I’d never done before. I’d never knit anything with this construction, but I jumped in anyway!

Concord Vest BackAs you can see, it worked out rather well. :-)

I’m pretty happy with my status as a member of the House of Monkey. Knitting and designing like this keeps the whole thing fresh and exciting–which is important when you take into account how many hours a week I spend knitting!

Design Process Part 1: Inspiration

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I got such a nice response to the post about my design process for Lavandula that I thought I’d try an experiment! A new design idea bit me hard a few days ago, so I thought it might be fun to do a series of posts detailing its creation, from first idea to pattern release. (Thanks to the lovely Becky of Sugar Tree Designs for the idea!)

First up: the inspiration.

The initial spark of an idea comes, more often than not, from some hole in my wardrobe.

I only wish I meant this kind of hole.

I only wish I meant this kind of hole.

I’m not doing much dressing up these days, so I’m feeling a lack of casual, comfy, cozy pullovers. You know, the kind you’d wear to curl up in a big chair in front of a fireplace.

So that’s the basic concept out of the way. But what about the details?

I save lots of pictures from catalogs, email mailings, and random internet searches for features I like. I also take pictures of sweaters A LOT. In clothing stores, out walking around, in lines at the grocery store… I know some designers prefer to look at fashion magazines or runway collections, but to me there’s nothing like seeing the way a collar drapes, color does/does not flatter, etc. in person.

I’ve perfected my “take a surreptitious picture with my iPhone, without freaking out the subject” technique.

IMG_2427

Well, almost perfected. I think this lady might have been on to me.

Every so often, I go through my photos and see if inspiration strikes.

I saved this picture because I liked how far down the v-neck came (very flattering to larger busts):

gp397902-05p01v01I like the width of the ribbing on this next one (although I’m not really a fan of the lace pattern in the rest of the sweater or the airy-ness of the yarn used, and I don’t think I’d put a v-neck in the back as well as the front):

IMG_2442Big, floppy collars just scream cozy to me–plus I like when it looks like there’s a hood from the front, but there’s not all the extra fabric of a full hood, just a rectangle of fabric partway down the back. Actually, I have no idea what to call this. Is it a shawl collar, just without the short-rows? I can’t find a picture of what I’m talking about by searching for shawl collar, so maybe not. Anyone know what its official name is?

I also like front pockets, and they’re definitely cozy… but I’m a little iffy on whether I want to include one in this design or not–it’s hard to pull off without making the sweater seem too casual. But I’m putting the decision off until later, when I have a better idea about yarn choices and the overall look of the piece.

Cute sweater, but a little too teenage for my tastes.

Cute sweater, but maybe a little too teenage for my tastes.

With those criteria in mind, I can start brainstorming in earnest. Next step: sketching!

 

 

Design Process: Lavandula for Twist Collective

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I was incredibly excited to have my first Twist Collective pattern in the Winter 2012 issue. Here’s a peek into my design process (something I hope to blog about more often in the future, so I hope you like it!).

I started out with the idea of a lacy, v-neck cardigan. I knew I wanted it to be very fitted around the waist and have more ease in the bust–if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I’m all about the bust-friendly designs.

One of the best ways to flatter a figure is to make sure a sweater is fitted at the smallest part of the torso (which for many people is under the bust or a few inches below). I decided on deep ribbing to shape the waist, instead of my usual increases and decreases, since I thought that would complement the lace pattern nicely. I also liked the idea that the knitter wouldn’t have to worry about placement of the shaping.

Here’s the rough sketch I sent to Twist. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination–so I was pretty happy with this one, haha:

Snow Dreams sketchI knew I wanted a simple lace pattern, but one that would be pretty and feminine at the same time. After swatching a few (okay, maybe five or six) different patterns, I settled on this snowflake lace. The swatch was knit up in Tosh and photographed in my DIY lightbox.

Lavandula swatchWhen I got the email telling me my pattern had been accepted, I was thrilled. When they told me they were sending me Sundara Yarn Sport Merino Two to knit the sample, I was beyond thrilled and into ecstatic! I’ve heard such rave reviews about Sundara yarns for years, and I just never got around to ordering any to try it for myself.

Let me tell you–I nearly swooned when I opened the box. This stuff is gorgeous. It’s as squishy and elastic as my beloved Madelinetosh plied yarns. The colorway they sent me, Monet’s Basilica, is a stunning lavender with perfectly layered purples and blues.

Then it was on to the knitting!

Full disclosure: even though I was the one who proposed it, I wasn’t quiiiiite prepared for the 12.5″ of 1×1 ribbing up to the waist. That, as I’m sure you will agree, is a lot of ribbing. I found I got into a rhythm pretty easily, though, and after a few inches, it wasn’t any more tedious than stockinette. Great TV knitting! The yarn was a pleasure to knit with, which helped a lot. My suggestion to anyone who’s feeling a bit daunted by all that ribbing: choose a yarn you love. It will ease the pain, I promise.

Once I sent the sample and the pattern back to Twist, it was time to wait impatiently for the issue to come out. When it finally did, I was blown away by how beautiful it looked.

lavandula mainI shouldn’t really have been surprised, because I always love their styling and photography, but it was such a trip to see it on something I designed!

lavandula sideYou can see that the pattern didn’t change much from sketch to finished object–not always the case for my designs, let me tell you! But this was one of those magic ideas that just came together perfectly.

Lavandula laughing

My favorite picture from the shoot. Isn’t the model adorable??

You can click here to see more information about Lavandula (sizes, yarn requirements, etc.). The rest of the winter issue is stunning too, of course. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen it, head over and check it out: Twist Collective Winter 2012 Issue. I’m so proud and honored to be included in an issue with so many talented designers!

Pre-Christmas Check In!

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T minus five days until Christmas! After seeing some seriously panicked threads on Ravelry, I’m really happy I decided to go easy on the gift knitting this year.

This could have been me.

This could have been me.

No one in my family reads my blog regularly except for my husband (hi honey!), so I feel safe in sharing my gifting plans. I’m going to give my Texture Times Two hat and scarf to my mom.

TTT Hat and Scarf

Picture this….

Mom

….on my adorable mother! Isn’t it perfect?

I usually try to hang onto my samples, but she loved them so much when I showed them to her that I can’t resist surprising her.

I also mailed off the Sweet Peasy for my niece.

Sweet Peasy

The Latte Baby Coat, though… I decided not to send it. After blocking, I discovered the buttons I’d been planning to use were too big for the buttonholes (boo!). Also, the front edge is a little ruffly. Possibly it’s one of those things only I would ever notice, but I hate gifting imperfect things, y’know? So I think I’m going to buy new buttons, reblock it, and give it to her next month.

But even that’s not enough to kill my relaxed mood. So different from last December, when I was frantically trying to finish these:

20111213-103948.jpg

Ironically, we aren’t even going to be there to use them this year.

Are you knitting any gifts this year? How’s it going?

FO Friday: Texture Times Two Hat

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I finished the texture hat to match the purple texture scarf!

20121102-013744.jpg

It came out great! The hat is fully reversible and looks just as cool on both sides as the scarf.

20121102-014106.jpg

The specs:

Pattern: My own, coming soon (with matching scarf).

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Purple Mystery, 1 skein. What can you say that hasn’t been said about Malabrigo? It’s like knitting with clouds.

Notes: Even after a whole scarf and a hat, I still really like this texture pattern. The two-in-one effect is awesome. I finally figured out a good name for the set, too: Texture Times Two!

We had fun with the photoshoot on what turned out to be one of the last days with leaves still on the trees:

20121102-014713.jpg

I still haven’t quite readjusted to actual seasons after my years in LA. The poor trees look so sad now!

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