Friday, September 22, 2017

keynote pullover: drop dead easy knits

When choosing a sweater to test, 
I decided the Keynote was best.
The yoke's fun to knit,
It has a great fit.
(I never give mine a rest.)*

Back with another limerick lede spotlight on a pattern from  Drop Dead Easy Knits by Kirsten Kapur, Mary Lou Egan, and me.  This time, we are talking the Keynote Pullover by Mary Lou Egan.
Here's our model Josephine wearing it, in the book. This sweater is knit from the bottom up, with the decorative sections of Moire stitch taking place at the cuffs and at the yoke.  (Moire is a series of eyelets, very easy, with a fawncy sounding name...no cables or tricksy moves) . 

Mary Lou, who attends a lot of conferences for her day job, designed Keynote as  the kind of sweater you might knit on quietly while listening to presenters, making the body and sleeves, doing all the stockinette. Not too attention getting in the audience, no need to check charts or juggle multiple strands of yarn or anything like that. Then, join it  and do the yoke in your hotel room later, when you want to pay a bit more attention to the row counts. 

I loved it from the earliest swatches, and offered to test knit it in the same yarn Berroco gave us for the book: Fiora, in a silvery grey. Wow, do I love it. It's a cotton/viscose/alpaca blend that knits up well, has a nice drape and best of all--you can throw it in the washer and dryer and it comes out looking seriously good as new.
Don't let the lighting fool you, Mary Lou and I were wearing our matching silver grey  Keynotes last October at NY Sheep and Wool Festival. We were well aware how dorky that is--but it did show off how this sweater suits a good range of body type. She is tall and slim with broad shoulders, while I am short and rounder and have average/narrower shoulders. 

You can easily substitute any DK weight yarn, like Tosh DK if you wanted a woolly version,  or a very snuggly one of Malabrigo Dos Tierras (wool/alpaca) or Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light  or if you want something wool-free, awesome feeling and machine washable, there's Berroco Remix Light. And, though I personally have not jumped on this bandwagon, this sweater would be a good candidate to turn into a fade, using skeins of handdyed, speckled yarns, if you've been toying with the concept but not sure which project to adapt.

Meanwhile, you'll find me here there and everywhere in mine. Seriously--someone tell me to change my top!
 with Kristy Glass when I was on her podcast. Is she not adorable? You can really get a good view of my yoke if you follow the link to her YoutTube channel, while I bobble my head and blab. Also you can see, above, that mine fits a bit more tunic-style than the model's version. Since it is knit bottom up, you can determine the length to armpit pretty easily as you go.
And here's a silly group selfie at the end of a photo shoot, and I am once again in my Keynote, bottom right.I wear it working, a lot.

If you've got one knit or underway, share it on Ravelry with us!We love love love seeing what you make from the book and where you wear it.

*if you check on Mary Lou's blog Yarnerinas or Kirsten Kapur's blog, Through the Loops, you will see that we're working our way through the book, sharing thoughts and ideas about the patterns. We jokingly said we'd do them in limerick, and I am , characteristically, the one who is taking that joke too far.






Thursday, September 07, 2017

to do list (3 things on thursday*)

Finishing up this rainbow sweater is top on my to do list. As you can see, there're irrefutable signs of cool weather.  I started it right around July 4th, so a Labor Day almost-finish is a nice symmetry.

It's a special request from sweet  Zoe,  could  I say no? She's so anxious to wear it that she reminds me to work on it every day. She tried it on as often as she could , while it was being knit, top down. It looks done to her, but I keep insisting " The ends! I need to weave in the ends !And buttons!"
So that's #1 on the knitting /crafting/non-work to do list.
# 2 is more fun than end weaving--I only start new projects when I finish one already in progress, lest I tip into crazyland.  I'm leaning towards a nice slouchy Farmhouse Cardi for me. Zoe thinks it should be a hat for me, to match her sweater, with the leftovers.

#3 accept that the season is changing. This is a state of mind to-do item.  We had the last full moon of summer neighborhood ladies skinny dip last night , the annual event that signals the end of summer to me. I'm working on it.

* I'm going to try joining in the 3 things on thursday. I've always enjoyed reading the Think Write Thursdays but the concept of a writing topic assignment was just too much for me . However--3 things? 3 things! I can do that. More info over on Carole Knits.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

bts: Bay pullover

ETA: now through Sept 4, Berroco is donating all PDF pattern sales to support the Houston Food Bank.  I'm thinking time to go stock up on future knitting plans....
 A quick BTS (behind the scenes) for this pullover, Bay.  It's a free pattern from Berroco* this week.  
(go ahead, go click over for the PDF, then c'mon back for the blab and more views)
When it popped up in my feed a few days ago, it was like seeing an old friend from the shoot, in May.  I see so many beautifully simple knits on photo shoots, that get lost in the mix of the bright and shiny distractions in my brain. So happy to remember and add this to my mile long queue.
 I'm pretty sure Bay would be a real go-to sweater in my wardrobe.  As well as a speedy knit.

We shot it in a farmhouse in southern Rhode Island that I adore as a location. If you are thinking "is Rhode Island big enough to even have a south and north?"  the answer is...sorta? The south county  is all beachy towns and more rural than the area leading up to Providence.  While lots of older homes have been homogenized when updated, this one is frozen in the 1940's. In the very best way. Wood trim, big old windows, original wallpaper, wide wrap around porch. Swoon.
My assistant caught us in the act of getting this specific shot of Bay. It's funny to see us squooshed up like that--it feels totally normal and not contorted while we're working.  That's Amy Christoffers, the creative director, next to me, assessing the shot.   We  hop around together like this all day. The white cloth on the floor reflects light back up toward the model and blocks light from bouncing off the green floor and tinting the scene. That's a reflecting panel on the left, propped against another bed, and even that pillow in the corner was taken off the bed that's being used in the photo, but propped up to bounce in a little more light.  There's an assistant holding a reflector....and some of our own lighting that gently brightens things up. You know, so it all looks natural ;-)
 It's knit sideways in two pieces, and has that great seaming, and a simple neckline.
 Go get it! It's definitely queue worthy. And for those of us attending the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in a few weeks who feel compelled to make a Rhinebeck sweater but haven't started yet...it's a contender, right?
Hair & Makeup by DD Nickel
All photos by me.
I'm not sure who designed Bay but if I find out, I'll add the credit.
(I truly do have the best clients. Looking forward to more shoots with the Berroco team soon.)

* as I was putting in the links, I noticed  the home page is full of the images and patterns in Portfolio 4. So good, all in their new Ultra Wool. I want to take the rest of my day off and just knit some fall things....

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

giveaway WINNER : and more rhyming

We've got a winner of the Euroflax yarn and Kollage needles to make a Pompano Tank.
Thank you all for visiting & leaving your comments! Come back again!
Meanwhile some rather fabulous rhyming went on in the comments, in case you missed it:
Doreen from further north said:
I'd be glad to knit this lovely tank,
What if I can't in just one hank?
I'll use two even if it means ripping,
I'm from Canada, but I'd be glad to pay shipping.

gratuitous Nash Island lamb photo
some Jill Draper Makes Stuff : always delish
while Unknown (who really deserves better credit than that)said:

Though I love knitting things at the beach
The Louet yarn is out of my reach
If perchance I should win
I shall have to begin
And thank Gale and Kirsten once, each.



  I wish I had more than one package to send out. Thanks again to Louet NorthAmerica

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

pompano tank: louet euroflax yarn giveaway!

Read down to enter our  giveaway of  Euroflax Sport Linen yarn plus Kollage Needles to knit a Pompano Tank for yourself !

When knitting a Pompano Tank
Designer Kapur is to thank
It's quick and it's easy
The eyelet border's breezy
And it barely takes more than a hank.
Yup back at you with a limerick* introducing a spotlight on the Pompano Tank from Drop Dead Easy Knits. With bonus give away, thanks to Louet North America.
As I've mentioned here and here,  and many times before that, I'm all for knitting on the beach and wearing knits at the beach. Linen is pretty much the perfect fiber for both actions. When Kirsten Kapur designed the Pompano Tank for our book, I was all heck, yeah!  It's the kind of piece you can throw on over a bathing suit, over a camisole  or as a layer over a shirt. The simple A line shape and scoop neck is exactly my style. 
Is it yours, too? Enter our Pompano Tank GIVEAWAY by leaving a comment below, by midnight Sunday August 13th to win 5 skeins of Euroflax Sport in Eggplant (same colorway as our model Katrina is wearing here) and a 24 " size5 US Kollage Needle. Shipping included in US,  if winner is from outside US, you have to pay your own shipping (sorry)**
Last September, at the book launch party, I impulsively cast on a Pompano Tank for myself in wool.  Although I made a gauge swatch,  I (red flag!) didn't check the measurements of the size I chose to knit, against the measurements of my, ummm, body.  I know, idiotic...but I was basking in the glow of celebrating the book.  Long story short, I adored the knit, it practically flew off the needles in 3 busy weeks, but it doesn't fit me. Totally owning the error--I am considerably shorter than a size L waist to shoulder measurement. Not to mention wider in the hips. It is in my do-overs pile.
photo courtesy of Jani Estell...love her garden!
In more inspiring news, my wiser and immensely talented friend Jani Estell, over at Starcroft Wool and Yarns, knit herself this fabulous version of a Pompano Tank in her Fog yarn.  She lengthened the eyelet section and the stockinette above it, before the small amount of shaping toward the waist, creating a tunic out of the tank. Since it is a bottom up knit, you can slip it on, and decide exactly when to start the shape as you go.  I plan to copy her as soon as I can, because this tank/tunic could be a real staple for autumn outfits. or...dare I say it...a Rhinebeck debut?  We've got like 10 weeks, which is more than enough for this truly Drop Dead Easy knit...maybe you and I both should be casting on a Pompano for success?

*More Drop Dead Easy Knits spotlights can be found at these links, we're presenting them every 2 weeks. We joked about introducing them in limerick, I'm the one taking the joke too far....
Short Beach Shawl
Kiawah Pullover
Galworthy Gift Bag Parley Cardigan  
Abide Shawl Searsport Market Bag Glama Wrap Polliwog Baby Sweater 

**Kollage Needles are square and have super flexible soft cables, and nicely pointy tips. I personally love knitting with them. I hope you'll like them too. 


Sunday, July 30, 2017

at altman's needlearts in mattituck ny

Did this amazingness catch your attention? It got mine.  More about it follows.

A couple of Sundays ago I boarded a ferry bright and early to go teach at Altman's Needlearts in Mattituck, NY.  I was happy. Any gig that includes ferry travel turns out fabulously, in my experience.
The shop is delightful. It's full of great yarn, interesting materials for other maker/needlarty pursuits, fun displays, tools, patterns and handmade gifts and cards. (Really great cards, among other snobbery, I am a card snob)..... Kate Altman fills her shop well.

She invited my co-author Kirsten Kapur and I to teach, and booksign Drop Dead Easy Knits. The only thing missing was Mary Lou Egan our third partner, who lives way off in Minnesota. (we wave, sadly).
Kirsten taught the Glama Wrap project. I caught part of the class and wish I could have sat through it all. Kirsten brought swatches showing ways to think about modifying the pattern, how it would look in different yarns.....seriously, I have been living with this pattern since we started the book three years ago, you'd think I'd know all this, yet I still saw it in new ways. I love how she teaches. 
I taught a 10 Tips for Photographing Your Knits class.  This is Rachel, who works at the shop, sitting in as a gorgeous model for us when we did a little shooting. We did the class on our smartphones, allowing  me to crunch in some iphone-ography editing tips as well. Totally fun! My only regret (cringing to admit this)--I forgot to turn on the  bluetooth in my phone, so my selfie-stick missed the group class shots. Rookie error! 

This was my first trip to Mattituck, on the western edge of the North Fork of Long Island. It is so worth a  trip to this shop and charming little village--the block with Altmans also has  a winetasting room for a vineyard, a cheese shop, a chocolate shop and a really good sandwich and salad deli. There was coffee too. Like...couldn't you just live there? The beach isn't far away so..let's see, yarn, coffee, wine swimming..yeah. I'm good.
 Then I noticed these stunning crocheted blankets in the shop.They remind me a bit of the gazillion pieces I've pinned by French artist Sophie Digard..,,but these were different and wholly original. Kate pulled out more and more. They're the work of Evy Leonard, a crochet artist in Brooklyn who really has brilliant color & design instincts and a lot of fingering weight yarn. Let me blow your mind with a few more, OK?




I mean...even if you had a pattern that showed you the motifs for the squares, and suggested the yarns, you still couldn't replicate the blending mixtures of solid, hand dyed, variegated and speckled yarns and scraps she uses to make these. Did I mention they are fingering weight?
I almost overlooked this one, which is more neutrals and duller shades. It might be my favorite. 

All of them are a  good argument for never throwing away a scrap. And also for buying someone else's handmade brilliance when you find it. (contact Kate at Altman's if you feel the same way). 
Sailing home. A brilliant day. My theory about ferry travel gigs held up.

Friday, July 21, 2017

bts: Minnesota 52

In early May, I bopped off to Minnesota for a wonderfully whimsical book project: Minnesota 52: 16 Knits Inspired by the Road.
Megan Williams & Cori Eichelberger, aka KnitCahoots, were self-publishing their first book project . They'd reached the "whoaa...this is really happening and we need a photographer stat...and whateverelsehappens on a photo shoot, too". Fortunately we share a friend and top notch tech editor, Ellen Silva, of The Twinset Podcast, who made the connection.
We had to stop and scout this location: a sheep quilt painted on the side of a barn in Zumbrota MN.
Cori & Megan's theme is their  friendship and the knit-related adventures they've  had traveling between their homes, 100 miles apart, along Minnesota Highway 52. They wanted playful, small town locations that matched up with the spirit of their story, and their colorful designs.

So there we were, cruising along Mn 52 seeking locations. That's Cori and Megan on the right,  pre-enacting the cover image we shot 24 hours later-with much smoother light, you'll notice--on the left.  Here's how it looks on the book:

 I knew they both love color--especially Cori--and I knew they had a joie de vivre ---joie de knit? that had to be communicated but without going overboard into the "gee aren't we kooky" kind of pictures that try too hard. It had to feel real.
A rare instance where the overused cupped hands mitten shot actually works! Minnesota stone FTW.
We shot in  some small towns, a park, and a farm. 

Because you can't do rural Minnesota and not have a farm. (I urge you to play that for the sound effects)

And the, on the day of the shoot, the magic started happening right away.  We told our models--all part time models and full time scientists-- the shoot would be playful. Jo showed up just after dawn in the Pine Island Cheese Co parking lot with...her unicycle! She's wearing the Snow Thank You Sweater, which is high on my Want to Knit list . Don't you love the shoulder construction and lace, with the striped sleeves? It's designed by Megan Williams.

Nancy, the lovely woman who let us invade her farm, offered us various props....including a gosling. And a rabbit. 
FYI: Minnesota girls are not afraid of gosling poop dripping down the wardrobe, and a big armful of bunny is a welcome addition. That's Jen in the Nice-capades Sweater
We had a blast. Everyone pitched in...the authors hauled scrims, Ellen the tech editor became my photo asst, the models smiled and posed and looked beautiful  in wool all day despite some spring heat, and helped on set when they weren't posing.
It was one of those days when all the pieces came together and made the shoot match the spirit of the book. It's full of colorful, clever and very wearable designs----I tell you, Minnesota knitters are a whole 'nother scene of knitter, and these two are all in. I learned about SQ's  (sweater quantities of yarn) and VKN's (Virtual Knit Nights) where groups of knitters log in online, via  google hang out , enjoying  weekly knitting nights with each person in their own home spread far and wide. The Knit Cahootsters introduced me to a whole slew of indie dyers I didn't know about, and led me to a fabulous shoe store Luya Shoes, in the most unlikely location of Zumbrota MN.  I learned that Subway makes chopped salads as well as sandwiches, Walleye Pike is still delicious when freshly cooked, and Minnesota Nice is as true as ever.

Loved working with these ladies! I'm sure we made quite a scene--a photo crew shooting models and wielding 6 foot reflectors isn't seen everyday in rural Minnesota.   Anyway..... that's getting off topic. You can see all the patterns on Ravelry. I'll be casting on at least one, as soon as I get my queue in order!


Saturday, July 08, 2017

ahoy! Thimble Islands Knitting Cruise 2017 sign up NOW

JULY 27th 2017 THURSDAY 6-8 pm
The not-so-annual Thimble Island Knitting Cruise sets sail again
SOLD OUT *, pm me to get on waitlist.
$30. 
board from Stony Creek Branford CT docks 5:45pm

photos from an earlier year
read about it here, and here, and I'm sure elsewhere--this will be our 4th cruise since 2012.


We sail on the Volsunga, info about it here. Cast on and cast off?



FAQ's:
*  we sail rain or shine--the boat is covered by an awning & has lighting
*  yes! of course you can bring a non-knitting friend!
*   eating & drinking heartily approved, there's a large table aboard
*  we always sell out so don't lollygag about getting your tickets
singing of sea chanteys totally optional as you make plans 
*  no need to thank me for the mighty ear worm from link above ;-)
"A night on the town wouldn't do us any harm! "




Friday, June 23, 2017

the short beach shawl: drop dead easy knits

 
There is a designer in the City
Whose daughter is smart, tall and pretty.
Sofie modeled our shawl,
hopped on rocks, did not fall.
(Wish I had a last line that was witty).*

Back at you with a Drop Dead Easy Knits pattern highlight.This time, it's the Short Beach Shawl, by Kirsten Kapur.

It's another gem in the No Sheep at the Shore chapter.  All  are projects to knit while at the beach--or to wear in pleasant weather, wherever you're feeling some easy breezy style.

How much do I love this design?Let me count the ways: 
First, it's a bottom up triangle with increases happening only on the outer edges.  If you've ever fallen off-course on a triangular shawl with mirrored sides and center spine increases, you will know why this simpler construction automatically makes it go to the head of the not-so-hard class.

The design is bands of garter stitch, and bands of an easy repeating lace daisy. (That's what I call it, anyway. It is a flower like motif.)

And...fringe


I know it is silly to love a shawl pattern because it is fringed but I do.....I do. 
I  finished knitting this deep blue one a couple of months ago. I just fringed it and wow it makes the piece come alive. The fringe adds heft, and size, and flow. (and, almost a skein of yarn...I am a generous fringer).**
Lastly. We named the patterns in this chapter after beaches. Short Beach is my real-life neighborhood and favorite place to hang out---so--what's not to love?

This blue one is my second Short Beach Shawl,I have yarn poised for a third. The sample in the book, and in most of these photos, is the fantastic Dragonfly Fibers Dance Rustic Silk, a perfect match. (Seriously, look at their colors..... aaaaah!).

My blue one is a discontinued Mirasol yarn- a wool, silk and bamboo blend. Any fingering weight will do, but I like a little silk for the luster and drape.  I saw some swatches Kirsten made with the shawl in which  she striped it by alternating colors for the garter stitch and lace sections. It would be very cool in a gradient set, too.

More Drop Dead Easy Knits spotlights can be found here, we're presenting them every 2 weeks.
Parley Cardigan 
Abide Shawl
Searsport Market Bag
Glama Wrap
Polliwog Baby Sweater

* I'm trying to introposts in this series in limerick when it is my turn. Let's see how it goes....

** Perfect illustration re: cobblers' children. Although I had the shawl along with me for three very busy days of a non-knitwear/non-fashion-y photoshoot, I didn't have an chance to shoot it .  Or event think about it, for that matter. 
So, you see the quickie FO shot in a hotel room in Concord MA. I definitely need to upgrade that FO photo !