What I’m Knitting
There’s been a whole lot more secret knitting this week—but my secret projects are getting closer to completion, so hopefully I’ll be back to things I can show you next week! I did manage to take this pic of my two WIPs at the moment, which explains why my fingers are so confused right now (that’s light fingering on US #2s and super-bulky on US #15s!):
Oh, and I wanted to mention two other knitting-related things. First, I finally took the plunge and started an Instagram account! I’m @trionadesigns if you want to connect with me there. I’m posting fun pics of what goes on behind the scenes around here (which often involves a lot of toddler wrangling), as well as sneak peeks of upcoming designs and things I find inspiring.
Secondly, I’m planning to raise prices on my patterns slightly on Ravelry next week (after the 15th of the month). Most of my garment and accessory patterns are currently priced below the average, and I’ve been meaning to raise them a little higher for a while now to bring them more in line with current costs of production (which include editing, photography, and so on). I’m proud of the work that goes into my patterns and want the price to reflect that!
So if you’ve been meaning to purchase any patterns from my Ravelry store, you can take advantage of the advance warning and save a few bucks this week. :-)
What I’m Cooking
Well, this is embarrassing… I didn’t cook anything worthy of photographing this week (meaning, nothing entirely from scratch). Thanks to a few late work nights for me and the hubby, we did more than our usual share of picking up food or cobbling together quick dinners from frozen or convenience-type ingredients. I’ll try to be better about it next week!
What I’m Reading
Okay, definitely saved the best for last. One of my very good friends had her debut novel come out this week, The BFF Bucket List! I preordered it, so it arrived a day before the release date and I’ve been happily reading it ever since. It’s so good! She has a knack for writing books for tweens that make me really remember what it was like to be that age. You can pick up this book for yourself or your tween friends/family members from your local big bookstore or Amazon.com. You won’t be disappointed!
We’re entering the last week of the Indie Design Gift-A-Long over on Ravelry (check it out here if you want to join in the fun!). One of the best things about the GAL for me is discovering new-to-me designers.
Tanja Luescher designs gorgeous lace shawls and accessories. She kindly answered a few questions for me, so without further ado, here’s the interview!
Triona Murphy (TM): What inspired you to start designing?
Tanja Luescher (TL): I modified patterns or used recipes to create my own very soon. I’m very small, so I had to make changes to get something that fits me. After a course on shawl design by Renee Leverington I felt confident enough to publish my own patterns.
TM: You have such gorgeous intricate lace designs! What is your design process like for these?
TL: In the beginning, I take out my huge collection of stitch dictionaries and see what I fall in love with this time. Sometimes I have an idea what I’m looking for, sometimes I just let the pictures inspire me. When I’ve found one or more stitch patterns, I change some details here and there to make them work for the item I have in mind, and after that begin to knit. In that phase, a lot can happen. A shawl might become a cowl, stitch patterns get added or removed. I have to see the knitting on my needles to know what the design really wants to be. I envy those who have a perfect plan and a pattern written out before they begin to knit. Maybe I’ll get there some day. :)
TM: Are you participating in the Gift-A-Long as a crafter as well as a designer? If so, what do you plan to make/have you made?
TL: I’ve cast on Vining Roses by Natalia Sha, Fairy Ring Socks by Kirsten McTeer, Pleach by Clare Devine and Sand Tracks Scarf by Tracey Lee. I love this opportunity to knit other people’s designs! :)
TM: Is there a design of yours that you love and would like to see more people make?
TL: Yes, Soraya’s Faroese Shawl, I’d love to see it get more attention.
TM: What are your design goals for the next year?
I want to have more than 30 patterns available and answer some submission calls. An idea I’ve already begun with is working with Caterpillargreenyarn’s Shawl Striping yarns and see what happens when you use them for other shapes than the triangles that they are meant for. It’s so much fun to experiment with the gorgeous colors!
What I’m Knitting
I have another FO from the Indie Design Gift-A-Long this week!
These felted mittens are to match Ronan’s aviator hat I showed off last week. Here’s what they looked like pre-felting (along with the yarn I had left—that was some serious yarn chicken with a hand-dyed, irreplaceable yarn):
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted, hand-dyed by my husband!
Notes: This pattern was clear and easy to follow, and I love that it includes sizes from teeny baby to large adult! I made the 24 month size for Ronan. They’re too big even after I felted them to within an inch of their lives, but that’s okay—with luck, he should be able to wear them next year, too. And he doesn’t mind that they’re big:
A few days ago, I received the yarn for three(!) secret deadline projects, so I’m afraid that’s probably going to be all of my Gift-A-Long knitting for this year. But I really enjoyed knitting other people’s patterns for a change. I can’t wait for next year!
PSA: if you aren’t sure what the Gift-A-Long is, come check it out in the Ravelry group! It runs all the way through New Year’s Eve, so there’s plenty of time to get in on the fun.
What I’m Cooking
I knocked out two cookbook challenge recipes this week. First up was this chef’s salad, featuring baked tofu, breaded cauliflower, and eggplant bacon. The salad itself was good (if a little too labor-intensive and fiddly for a salad), but the vegan “ranch” dressing recipe that went with it—OMFG. It tastes virtually identical to dairy-filled ranch! My husband and I practically drank it out of the bowl. Definitely a new favorite!
For my weekly dinner for a crowd, I tried the smoky split pea soup from the cookbook. The smoked paprika that gives it the sort of ham-like flavor turned the soup brown rather than green, but it tasted great.
I also made my favorite beefless-beef stew recipe. This stew often gets “Whoa!” comments from carnivores who aren’t expecting something that tastes so much like the beef stew they’re used to. I used the wine called for in the recipe this time instead of my usual veggie broth substitution, which made it that much richer and better.
I’ve decided to make a huge amount of cookies for a holiday party I’m attending this weekend—so tune in for next week’s Friday Roundup for the results of that!
What I’m Reading
I picked up the first book in a long-running YA series, Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing. It skews a little young, maybe, but it has a bunch of elements I like in my books—adventure, mystery, sci-fi, and good writing.
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!
So here’s something exciting: a whole group of independent designers got together on Ravelry a few weeks ago and decided to put together a promotion/knit & crochet-along for the months of November and December (just in time for gifting, hence the “Gift-A-Long” name).
Here’s how the Gift-A-Long works. From Nov. 1 – Nov. 15, participating designers are discounting select patterns by 25% with the coupon code giftalong. You can see a list of all discounted patterns here in the Ravelry thread. I’ve decided to apply the discount to all of my self-published patterns–because hey, sometimes people deserve a hat, and sometimes they deserve a sweater, right? Or maybe you want to knit a “gift” for yourself… that’s okay too. :-)
Once you’ve got a participating pattern (or even if you had one already), you can knit (or crochet) along with others in the Indie Gift-A-Long Ravelry group until December 31st.
Also! There are prizes. Really, really good prizes. There’s a full list of them here. I donated a few awesome skeins of yarn I had in my stash. If you’re interested in the chance to win any of these, hop on over to the Gift-A-Long group and check it out!
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:
The yellow fall pullover now has the body and one sleeve finished:
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.
Earlier posts in this series: Design Process Part 1: Inspiration
Now that I have a pretty good idea of the general look and construction I want for the sweater, it’s time to think about the details. First up, I do a rough sketch of the design.
I also included the targeted measurements for my size. Before, I would need to look up standard guidelines for this bust size, but I’ve knit enough size M fitted sweaters now that I know most of these measurements off the top of my head. A few of them are specifically tailored to my preferences–I like a little bit of positive ease on the upper arm, for example, but I tend to like an inch or two of negative ease at the bust. I also tend to like slightly longer sweaters (probably because a large bust tends to make shorter sweaters ride up at the bottom!).
Next up, choosing yarn! Fun!
It was pretty easy in this case. I have this gorgeousness in my stash:
This is Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport in the “Manly, yes, but I like it too!” colorway (great name, eh?). I purchased two giant skeins (about 1300 yds) at Rhinebeck last October. After checking Ravelry, this looks like plenty to knit this type of sweater in a 36″ bust size. The great thing about top-down, too, is I know I have the option of knitting shorter sleeves or a shorter body if it looks like I’m running low on yarn.
Swatch time! As I mentioned in this post, the recommended size on the label for this yarn is incorrect. After a quick check on the yarn’s Ravelry page, I started with US #4 (3.5 mm), and I liked the fabric I got after I wet-blocked the swatch:
My measured gauge after blocking is 6 sts/8.5 rows to the inch. A little thinner than I usually prefer (I’m generally a DK and up girl), but the yarn’s soft and nice to knit with. Due to some kind of distracting life stuff going on right now, a stockinette, finer gauge sweater is just what the doctor ordered!
If I were knitting a bottom-up sweater, this is the point where I’d usually do some quick, rough calculations and then dive right into the knitting.
BUT… this is going to be a top-down sweater. So that means I have to do a whole bunch of math before I know how many stitches to cast on.
Some designers prefer to grade the pattern for all the sizes before they start knitting the sample in their size. I confess, I’m not one of those. I work out the numbers for my size, tweaking them as I go, and then grade the pattern for the rest of the sizes when I’m finished with the prototype.
Next up: casting on! Woohoo!
Bonus picture: one of the kitties “helping” me photograph the swatch.
The Twist Collective Winter 2012 issue went live this morning…
…which means I finally get to share one of those secret sweater knits I worked on over the summer with you!
This is Lavandula, my first pattern to be published through Twist Collective. I love, love, LOVE this online magazine’s design aesthetic and sense of style, so it’s been a dream of mine to get a pattern published with them. Lavandula was my third submission–and the first one that was accepted!
Of course, I was knocked out by the photography and styling (All gorgeous photos by Jane Heller for Twist Collective):
The yarn is Sundara Sport Merino two in Monet’s Basilica. I was thrilled when they told me which yarn had been selected for the design, because I’ve been dying to try Sundara yarns for ages! Let me tell you, it lived up to the hype. The depth of tone and color is absolutely stunning.
Lavandula is sized for bust measurements from 30″ to 51″ (76 to 130 cm). If you’re interested in purchasing the pattern or finding out more information, you can check out the Twist Collective page or the Ravelry page.
I’ll try to do a post about the design process in a few days–I know I’ve enjoyed seeing those from other designers, so hopefully you’ll enjoy it too!
Oh, and this makes me pretty happy too: Lavandula is currently #5 on Ravelry’s Hot Right Now list! :-D
The Tosh sweater is done! It’s gorgeous. Unfortunately, it’s also unblocked, so the big reveal will have to wait a few days. But it will be done long before Friday, which is good because…
… that’s the day I’m leaving for Rhinebeck!
This pretty much sums up how I feel about that:
Although my sweater looks a teensy bit cooler than his.
It’ll be my first time at Rhinebeck, so I’m mostly just going to soak in the atmosphere. I’ve heard it can be pretty overwhelming for first-timers! I’ll be at the Ravelry meet-up on Saturday, so if you’ll be there, you might get to see my pretty Tosh sweater in person.
Hubby and I are driving out to New York and it’ll take about 10 hours, so of course my thoughts turn to projects for the car.
I’m thinking I’ll work on the matching hat for the Malabrigo scarf:
I might get through that one, though, so I’ll need another project too… hmmm. Decisions, decisions.