Wednesday, January 11, 2017

sidekick hat + drop dead easy knits at vklive nyc

Join me and Kirsten Kapur with Drop Dead Easy Knits at Vogue Knitting Live  NYC this Sunday January 15, 2017 at the Dragonfly Fibers booth, NOON-3 PM  

If you already have our book,  come say hi and show us what you've been knitting from it.
 We will squeal with delight. I promise. 
I should be showing off my Sidekick Hat that I'm so so so close to finishing, knit in two colors of Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock . This design by Mary Lou Egan might be the most addictive colorwork pattern ever. It just flies. There's something very gratifying about seeing the squares build up, I keep wanting to knit just another couple of rounds.....
This all over pattern makes it look harder than it is, or you could say, makes me look more skilled than I am!  I (understatement alert) do not have the best memory. Yet, I haven't had to look at the chart since the eighth row. That means truly it is simple-- something you can knit while chatting, or watching, say, multiple episodes of Lilyhammer late at night.
 It is easy to track as you go, two colors, no float longer than four stitches(meaning the color not being used that is carried along the back), so you don't get all twisted up in catching long strands.  It's a good beginner colorwork project.  BTW? Colorwork with big graphics seems like it should be easy, but often isn't. Reference my stalled Passerine, to be continued at a calmer time when I can concentrate on the chart and long floats.
As far as choosing the yarn ....tough decisions!  Looking over the colors had me spinning. Kate's dyeing and colors are varied and beautiful. Contrast between the two yarns is important, and I worried about the variegated yarn detracting from the graphics. 
I settled on one almost solid neutral (Silver Fox, top), and a super bright (Oriental Poppy, bottom).  Although the pattern is written for sport weight, this fingering weight yarn works perfectly.  The range of contrast and color withing the Oriental Poppy is no  problem.  I absolutely LOVE how it looks knit in the repeats.

How thrilling is it to see PussyHats taking off? How're yours coming along? I've scavenged up the last couple of pink skeins here and am awaiting acquisition to knit more bulky last minute hats. Hot tip: Dragonfly Fiber  is offering their pinks at 15% off. through Sunday 1/15. I think I know what I may bring home from the weekend.

Friday, January 06, 2017

the pussyhat project

 1:30 am on January 1st,  I cast on a PussyHat, in support of the Pussy Hat Project .  I wanted to start 2017 right.
Even though I had to rip it and start over at 9 am (thanks bourbon drinks by the bonfire at midnight! love ya too!), it felt good. I can't attend the Womens March on Washington  January 21st  but I am thrilled that my sister Marla will be wearing it there. 
Also thrilled that this act of Craft Activism is spreading across the country. HuffPo coverage here, and lots more links and info roundup over on the MDK website today.  

Through knitting a hat, we can support the bodies and cold heads, and the efforts of those marching in Washington. It's a way to connect physically and concretely.
The original free pattern by Kat Coyle is simple and knit flat. An evening's easy effort if you knit it in a chunky* alpaca, as I did.  It doesn't take much googling around to find versions knit in the round, crocheted, ribbed all over, roll brim etc. Kat is a fabulous artist and designer, profiled in CraftActivism, a connection I loved making when I photographed her for the book. (I know! I get to meet the best people, I am very lucky).
On Facebook, source of false info daily (seriously, can that be their motto?) I read some  knitters whining that "they had to buy a kit" to make the Pussy Hat- FALSE. Free patterns plus whatever yarn you want to MacGyver together.  Don't have pink? use another color. Or get some pink Kiwi Koolaid and make it pink. 

Lastly, I read a popular knitpodcaster asking if it trivializes the Womens March. NO. It does not.  If you click on over to the original project pattern PDF there's some info about why the color pink and the pussycat ears.  Aside from the symbolism, The Pussy Hat Project offers knitters a way to contribute in the way we love best. By the work of our hands.  A feeling of unity and a visible symbol that will be quite media friendly are not trivial. That is what large assemblies in Washington are all about. A sea of pink pussy hats on the national mall ? yes.
My sister Marla sent this selfie when she received hers in the mail, last night.  If you see her, say hi. (she's @marlaatelierista on Instagram, if you like Reggio-inspired art education, public activist art, lots of color and joyful photos)

Are you knitting one? If so , which pattern and any mods how did it turn out? While typing this I agreed to make a fuschia one for a stylish friend. I need to do it right!

* for my chunky alpaca pussyhat, I cast on 38 stitches, on size US9 needles, more details here

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

mostly hats: the gift knitting roundup report

For a son's girfriend, I asked if she'd like a hat, and if she had any preferences.  She requested silvery grey and black. She likes it a lot! It even got an "oh wow" from the fairly knit-jaded son himself.
Pattern: Eau Claire Hat by Melissa Schaschwary
Pompom: un-naturally black rabbit fur. All the  LYS sold out, as did online sources, what with furry pompoms all the rage. Luckily furry pompom key chains are a thing, too. After ordering one online and de-chaining, it worked out quite nicely. 
Notes: I love this pattern. Want one for myself. This was knit in Cascade 128, chosen for its color, softness and twist, and of course, weight. It was such a speedy knit, I swear it took me longer to secure the pompom than to knit it. I could have done one more repeat for a slightly slouchy hat but I was worried I'd run out of yarn. It fits great as is.
Two custom colorwork hats. These are a blast to knit. 
Pattern: Headford Hat from Drop Dead Easy Knits is a perfect blank template. Add stripes, or fair isle style graphics, or whatever stitches you want.   Well, yeah, of course I am biased, by being co-author of the book,  but I swear, it really is an ideal launchpad of a hat. And cute as a simple solid too.  I am predicting more of these in my knitting future.  Colorwork makes a knit fly for me. I guess I like the immediate gratification of seeing the picture form?
 Notes: the owly one is for my bro-in-law who likes a tight fitting beanie style, and requested something quirky or fun this year, when queried for his annual hat. It's in the mail now, crossing my fingers that he'll be happy. 
the snowflake one is for Yliana, my unofficial foster daughter who is 21 now and in her own apartment, an all around good egg, that one. She commented that snowflake motifs were appealing to her this winter, so I went with it, and I know she likes these colors.  It's actually  dark red and a light grey, but it reads as white. Color is so fascinating, isn't it?  This hat is slouchier in length from cuff to crown and knit at a slightly looser gauge than the owly hat. (and, yes, I did only shoot it with the jog showing? why??? I do not know!)
All of the motifs are from 150 Scandinavian Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone.  I page through this book all the time obsessively plotting more hats and yoked sweaters.  One of a few brilliant purchases I made toward the end of 2016.  (my electric teakettle is another, if you are wondering) (and my dozen remote control votive candles, hyggely as they are)

Azel Pullover and Big Wool Little Hat for Zoe-- adorable factor off the charts, right? Also - intense pink fluffiness off the charts. It's knit in Rowan Brushed Fleece, which is so light and fluffy,  to the point it barely holds its shape. The light fluffiness has made it a huge hit with Zoe, so no complaints from me. The design is  a rectangle folded over, a tube of mistake rib for the turtleneck and some buttons holding the sides closed below the arm, it actually doesn't have much shape, anyway.
Buttons from Pins and Needles in Princeton NJ. I don't think I could have found a better button for this one! They're mix and match flowers on the hearts. The design is for buttonholes along the edges but given that they aren't functionally necessary, and heart shaped buttons can slip out of bulky button holes easily, I skipped making buttonholes and just sewed them on through both edges.  
The whole shebang is a hit. Suits her, doesn't it?

There's one more hat, but it's in the mail and I'll wait to show it. Let's just say you'll be seeing a lot just like it between now and January 21st! My CraftActivism friend, the wonderful  Kat Coyle and the Little Knittery are making it happen!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

POP UP ! wood print sale

I'm trying something new! A POP-UP sale of some of my photographs on wood.
I've been selling these as limited edition prints on wood by special order for a couple of years but I thought it'd be fun to share them online for one day for a few days.  Why not?

All the INFO and DETAILS are on the order page here. Except it is unlikely that you will receive them before Dec 24th.

At first I worried that printing photographs on maple would be gimmicky or look tacky--but with some careful choice of which images I use, I love them.  The wood is lovely and heavy, and there's a keyhole so they are ready for hanging. The grain shows through the lighter parts of the imagery--which is why the choice of photo is so important. The finish is a matte laminate so it goes with the modern natural vibe.
These are 6x6" square, and are 1/2" deep.  
And I'm going to make all this disappear soon! Kind of fun. Let me know what you think!
Order from link here, or you can email me with questions .

Back tomorrow with the usual content :-)

Monday, December 12, 2016

it's time for Trip Mitts' return

Trip Mitts-- a pattern you can knit (in multiples) before the holidays.For yourself. or not.
Do you listen to the Twinset Designs podcast? I'll confess I am a slacker  in the knitting podcast department--I am picky picky about who I listen to. And I just plain forget to seek and listen.  Which is a shame because there are some brilliant podcasters out there, making a great mix of friendly chat, smart ideas and knitting information that inspires and illuminates. 
 I was lucky to be part of an interview with Ellen and Jan of the Twinset, when they caught me and my co-authors at Rhinebeck, (photo swiped from Twinset Jan's IG feed , thanks Jan!), this is Team Drop Dead, in which two of us are wearing matching sweaters, the Keynote Pullover. To be upfront, Twinset Ellen, 2nd from left,  is our tech editor (she is amazing!) and we have been friends for s few years. However, I still think their review of Drop Dead Easy Knits, in Episode 85 with our interview,  is well worth a listen.
I was thrilled that Ellen mentioned my Trip Mitts at the end of the segment--she'd tech edited them when they were going to appear in our book.  They got cut. We had more than enough content, and an editor thought they were too rustic.
It was understandable-- I know my design sensibility is on the brux side. I released the pattern alone,  last year. And since the season is nigh for quick knits that make great gifts--and quick knits to wear on your poor cold hands--I'm bringing it back for your attention.
The pink ones are knit in Anzula Oasis. And the blue ones are some handspun wool and a teeny bit of a marigold yarn for the closure.DK weight for both, but you can sub almost anything. See the project page to get what I mean! Stashbusters, for sure.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

top 10 reasons to attend Big Apple Knitters Guild 12/10/16

10. Kirsten Kapur and I have a brand new slide talk we're debuting, and narrating. Come see how many times we both start to talk at the same time and then say"oh no, YOU  o ahead""No, YOU!", then laugh, in unison
9. The trunk show will be there! Don't you want to wrap up in the Glama , as Josephine does here, and see how delicious it feels ? (super easy chunky drop stitches make it drapey and delish).

8. Also check out the Keynote Pullover, which (so far) looks excellent on everyone.

7. If you aren't already a member, this is your chance to check out the Big Apple Knitters Guild for free ( if it is your first time dropping in), or  for a modest $5. guest fee. Either way, worth it. They have great programming.

6.  We are bringing a mountain of our book and would love to sign them for you (or to give as gifts).  Seriosly, don't you love receiving a knitting book with 30 patterns plus a knitting accessory like stitch markers, or a LYS gift certificate, as a present?  (please forward to my family members, or yours,  as needed).

5.  The coasters! As far as we can tell, we are the only knitting book that has a natural cork drink coaster that is your attendance lagniappe. Because our patterns go well with sipping.

4. Tips and tricks. We're givers like that! Kirsten is sharing her favorite tools and how she wields them. Knitting muscle explained !

3. More tips and tricks! Kirsten is also sharing her top lace tricks. I've known her well for years now and just learned one of them last night. For reals.

2. Oh, even more tips and tricks! I'll be sharing my best secrets for photographing knits without too much fuss, to make killer images of all things yarny.

And the # 1 reason: Knitters gonna knit. Whether you need a break and just treat yourself to a couple of hours basting in the juicy knit talk --or you are heelbent on holiday knitting, and teh collective knit energy will move you faster, it'll be an afternoon worth joining in.

Hope to see you there! Leaving you with a taste of our drop Dead Easy Knitting wisdom...

Monday, December 05, 2016

december post 1- more bulky

Not to be adding on to your generalized anxiety but there aren't that many knitting days before you need to present gifts.  Let us put aside the dream of fine gauge socks* or mitts unless they are something like Trip Mitts which I, ahem, heartily recommend as a last minute gift.
Let us cast on something bulky and stylish. Like the Wilderness scarf. Super fast.
When I shot this for Tahki I totally fell for it.  You know I am a sucker for fringe, but it is more than that--it has a modern western/bohemian vibe to love.  The yarn is a  wool tape, like soft thin strips of wool felt.   It makes me wonder if I could knit this by cutting very thin strips of  wool yard goods or recycled coats....(warning, warning, do not go there, will not be a simple fast the yarn....)

 Karin Strom,  creative director and stylist for the shoot (on the right--and that is the wonderful Stacy Charles himself in the center. Yes! He's a real person --- I love working with him), paired it with a vintage coat and multiples of the scarf.

One scarf makes a fabulous gift--and the yarn, Tahki Spencer,  comes in some bright colors in case your giftees aren't into earth tones.

A little BTS; the Fashion Director for the collection, Conley Averett, wondered if we could spread the scarf out and shoot it as a shallow shawl. There's always a bunch of scootching and sshhjushjing of the knits on the model, to try different looks at a shoot. Sometimes one of us interprets the piece totally differently (as in--ohhhh I though those were shorts--not an oversized slouch hat with ears...ohhhh) and eventually we settle on the look that works best.
So Wilderness is knit on size 15 needles The yarn isn't super hefty, yet it holds up perfectly to the open design. And the fringe lays flat so nicely. You could substitute other yarns, it'd look great but differnt vibe  in something with a teeny bit of a halo, or in a nice rustic yarn, or a yarn with long color changes, too.  

* as for me? I'm speeding through that bulky fuschia Azel (scroll to end) when Zoe isn't looking, and just cast on for another gift hat...on size us3 needles. Living dangerously on that one. 

How's your gift knitting going? Have you checked  into the MDK Lounge for moral support? When are Kay and Ann going to crack out the eggnog and high quality chocolates for us, is my question?????