Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lucy & Ethel Cowl: Drop Dead Easy Knits

It's time to shine a spotlight on the Lucy and Ethel Cowls from Drop Dead Easy Knits. Design by Kirsten Kapur

When we brainstormed a pattern name that referenced two friends that were fun and colorful (as the cowls are) and had slightly different styles (as the cowls do), we leapt on Lucy and Ethel. But we didn't know they knit!!!  And I don't think they are faking it, you can find Lucy knitting on several episodes and sometimes just for the hell of it.  Links to I Love Lucy episodes for your wintertainment* right here
Two simple stitch patterns make up the design.  Like everything in the book, they are simpler than you'd think , and more stylish than you'd expect from a pattern that isn't hard to knit.  Worsted weight**, so they go fast .
The longer style can be loopy, I always think of that one as Lucy.  Or for a quick knit and less volume, the shorter cowl Ethel is a great choice.
The cowls appear in a chapter of patterns we presented as great for knitting in multiples to give as gifts to your friends. We wanted the photos to give off a buddies vibe. You wouldn't know it from this photo, but these two had just met. We had to use the top photo, with the hat hiding the smile, in the book, so that the focus stayed on the knits and not the beautiful happy faces.  I don't think photoshoots need to be dour affairs-- we like to goof around a little while we work.

Just like Ethel and Lucy!
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* I know you may be reading this in Australia or somewhere else southern hemisphere, and it may not be winter where you are....but frankly, it is SO WINTERY here that I can't imagine anything else today. Sorry! I have midwinter January brain.

** The samples shown are in The Fibre Company Knightsbridge yarn, which is lovely llama and silk , but I'd also knit them in Berroco UltraAlpaca--it has some of the same heathery colors and wool/alpaca loft and an insane range of  color options. I just fell down the rabbit hole of choosing...Barley and Cerulean? Zinc and PeaSoup? or GrapefruitMix??? aaaaghhhhhh. What would you choose? 







Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I Knit NY: bts with Kristy Glass Knits


 On a summery early October day (remember summery weather? )I was in New York shooting the excellent brand new book I Knit New York* from One More Row Press--the first in their series of Knit Like a Local.

I was so focused on my work that day, I didn't realize Kristy had filmed us in action, including my very enthusiastic two thumbs up to the model, somewhere around the 7.20 mark on the 10 minutes video. 

And as long as we're all video-sharey today, here's our beautiful and multi-talented dancer model Becca, doing her thing with her band, the Gentlemen Brawlers. 

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 I bet Kristy didn't know I caught her in action too.....



Shot while the model was changing, and as you know , given 10 minutes, knitters gonna knit.I have A LOT more to say and share about this book, so I'll be back on the topic soon.


* You can order the book online or if you are coming to VKLive in NYC this weekend, stop by the Backyard Fiberworks booth and get a signed copy from Kathleen Dames and Alice O'Reilly, the talented partnership behind this project. Bonus-see the samples and get some of Alice's yarn :-) ** If you do not follow and watch Kristy Glass Knits channel, you are missing out on some of the best knittertainment around, as well as seeing great interviews, meet people,and see books and ideas reviewed by this talented and passionate social media rock star.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Make Nine 2018




I've been having a fine time over on Insta looking at Making Plans of the Multitudes. Did you know you can follow a hashtag now,  as well as a person?  I added #MakeNine2018 to my feed and poof, inspiration-- and aspiration-- out the wazoo.

I wasn't going to put one together myself but it's amazing what a snowed-in day leads to....

1. September House Sweater from Kirsten Kapur (pattern releasing soon) .

2. Amy Louise Shift by Ellen Mason, Odacier .

3. Solbein by Mary Jane Mucklestone, as a pullover.  I'm indecisively hovering over All the  Lopi to pick colors. Side note: It's in Making No. 4 Lines, which is SO GOOD.  I could Make Nine from it alone.

4. Dottie Angel Frock from Simplicity. The company's pattern photos are white bread twee but look around online and you'll see great versions. Again, indecision abounds, this time for fabric choices.

5. Farmhouse Cardi by Savory Knitting, Amy Christopher. Ok, so I started this near the end of 2017 but it had to be put aside, so it's 95% a 2018 knit. In Jill Draper Makes Stuff Empire. With vintage buttons. Why am I sitting here blogging when I could be working on it???? ;-)

6. Jane Jacobs Shawl by Kirsten Kapur from I Knit New York, released yesterday! I cast on late last night, could not resist, in  this Backyard Fiberworks .  You can see the sample at VKLive in NYC, at the Backyard Fiberworks booth--and get signed print copies of the book.  I am quite biased, as the photographer but it is a gorgeous collection. I could easily Make Nine from this one too.

7. Brioche.  I really enjoy going round and round in 2 color brioche. I have a lot of beautiful yarn. I think you know where this is going......there will be more brioche.

8. Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated. I am crazy about this dress. I've yet to see a version that I don't love. If I can  get the proportions right, it will be a major part of my wardrobe. (It's reversible so that's doubly true).

9. I can't show it  yet but Berroco Portfolio 5  (link is to Portfolio 4, which is no slouch ) is coming out in a couple of weeks.  I'll add the link when it's clickable. Again I am biased since I shot it, and it's one of my favorite series of photos ever so....obvs I need to knit from it.

Anyone else do one of these? leave your link in the comments!


Thursday, January 04, 2018

3 things about the brioche topper (to start the year)

Brioche Topper by Laura Nelkin is my first FO for 2018.  It was also my last FO for 2017.  Lucky for me  (Thing 1):  The Brioche Topper is a fun knit.
It's a perfect Three on Thursday post because...I knit it three times.  Above: the final, version 3 .
It was a gift for sister Lulu, she wanted something chunky, and I thought I'd supersize the aran weight pattern into something slouchier.
Above, a view of unravelling between V1 & 2.  
V1 was ginormous. Version 2 was smaller, but not quite small enough (I like loose hats, turns out sister Lulu does not, and to be fair, she's  petite) . V3,  knit Tuesday night, just right. 
 
Are you wondering which yarn I'm using for all this knitting, ripping out and knitting again. ? The hand dyed is a Wonderland Yarns Tweedle Dee Dum bulky weight merino  in the colorway January (nailed it! so. exactly. right). and the grey is Quince  Osprey. Both feel soft and squooshy and warm. Both held up fabulously to the re-do and the re-do of the re-do.
 It looks cute on her, right? --and  she showed up wearing  gift circa 2010 granny square scarf

I'll be knitting more of these.  Because it's a great design. Thing 2: The brioche section, which is essentially double weight, is great on the ears. Also if you like brioche but don't loovvvvve it, it is just a small section of the project. However, I DO I loovvvvve brioche, so I'm ready to cast on another brioche project.

My final version used size 7US needles for the brioche section and size 10US for the rest of it.  This 3 sizes difference is what the designer suggested. When I knit V1, I thought really full brioche would be better, so I used size 9 needles.  Nope! Duh! Listen to the designer! It was waaaay too relaxed.  
The very large V1. See how much poufier the brioche is compared to the top? Two heads could have fit in there. 
Thing three: this is a very well-written pattern, just follow the instructions and don't try to mess around with it like I did on V1 and V2--- you'll have a fab hat the first time around.
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Belated happy new year! December blogging was obliterated by my return to yoga plus holiday related activity. I'm not saying  I'll be back daily but I'll be here...more. 

And, in the interest of sharing BTS, here's the uncropped view of my top photo.  Usually I duck outside to make a quick photo on the porch but it's so freakin' cold out I just didn't want to.
So... here you see an old roasting pan, some paint chips I picked up to choose colors for painting the stairs and stairway walls (I guess their colorway is also January?)  .  I plopped it on a cabinet that gets decent light from windows nearby.  I'm getting very enamored of shooting on old baking trays. You'll see more of that this year, too, no doubt.

Stay warm fellow east coasters in the US! Knit a new hat today!



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

giveaway BT Loft for mitts (and more)

My co-author and brilliant knitter Mary Lou Egan blogged about the Turoa Mitts pattern by our other co-author, Kirsten Kapur, and threw in a giveaway of a skein of Brooklyn Tweed Loft. It's one of many substitute yarns you could use to make these little beauties. As a gift. Or a a little holiday self-care for your hands. 

In classic Mary Lou style, in the same blogpost as the giveaway, she drops a killer knitting tip: how to judge the comparative weight of two yarns.  Let's say you've got, ohhh I dunno...a zillion leftover skeins of yarn you might use for these mitts but you are just not sure what weight they are. Or how they'd go if you want to knit them together to make a Sidekick Hat?  Or you think the yarn company must have been drunk when they called a yarn worsted as  it's skinnier than most fingering weight ?  You will want her trick.  

More giving --seeing as it is the first night of Chanukah tonight (no, I am not prepared, whydoyouask??), I'm going to gift you with more excellent tips and advice: go give a listen to Abby Glassenberg's annual community tips podcast from her While She Naps podcast.  Now, I know you are thinking "but she sews stuffed dolls, and I do not, I am a knitter/maker/DIY person" but here's the thing..the tips span many crafts and well beyond. Many good recommendations for books, podcasts, tools....and some quilting stuff that I don't understand, but you might!



Lastly: Our book Drop Dead Easy Knits is  full of excellent patterns, stylish but sot-too-taxing to knit AND I just noticed  it's super reasonably priced on Amazon this week. Geeez. For the cost of two single patterns elsewhere,  you get all these. (Ravelry link to see all 29 patterns).  Buy it , throw in a gift certificate to your LYS (or, use it as an excuse to visit your LYS to pick out some yarn in person) and BOOM excellent gift for a knitter in your life. 
Or...you know. Self-care.;-)

 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

upcoming classes & events

A peek...from  a photo shoot for this cowl pattern, to be released soon from the talented Elizabeth Elliott Knits. It's a good thing the cowl has such strong graphics or the eyes would take over the whole photo. Made ya look!

Are you attending TNNA in Las Vegas in January ? Thinking of it ? Do it!  I am looking forward to teaching three classes there. Join me!  

The class sizes will be smaller than the June summer show. We can really get into helping YOU and make sure you leave with new skills and a customized plan.  Plus--what a hoot? ! We'll be in Las Vegas?! Actually the whole show is going to be more personal, in a mart format. It's a great chance to connect with others in the industry. I love the hustlebustle of the summer show but it can be hard to do more than a quick chat that week.  Building relationships takes at least a MaiTai by the pool, right? (JOKING!)  I am not even sure what is in a MaiTai.( I'll have tequila,  thankyouverymuch). I do think it'll be a great opportunity to meet yarn industry folks worth knowing.

I am teaching
Become Insta-Savvy: Instagram as Community Builder 
with co-teacher Beverly Army-Williams. We'll help you get on board or smarten the way you use my fave social media platform. It's a very powerful and fun way to stay in touch and connected to your customers, or meet new ones. Words, pictures, planning, nuts and bolts...we cover it all.  I am amazed how much real business gets done on Instagram. You can find me on Instagram almost daily. Follow and say hi!

Beverly and I are also co-teaching Simplify The Newsletter .  We know small business owners and creatives have trouble finding time to put together a newsletter, so it gets sent irregularly.  Or haphazardly. We'll take a second look at how to apprioach the newsletter,  help you streamline the way you create content, make it fun, and make a plan that will work for you, specifically. Start 2018 with consistent and eagerly awaited newsletters to your email list!
Lastly,  I'll be teaching my beloved I-Phoneography class*. It's a fun, hands-on chance to discover how easy it is to make smartphone camera photos fabulous. The reason I enjoy teaching it so much is everyone leaves happy. I see them posting great images right away, after class.  I share tips, and tricks that are easily put to use, as well as demo a free creative app that helps you make strong, professional looking images that pop out on social media. Or anywhere, really.   The beautiful Backyard Fiberworks yarnballs above? A quickie smartphone photo just as it was getting dark out. 

 If you are in Connecticut, Beverly and I are also teaching at a very cool new place, The StoryTellers Cottage in Simsbury CT.   We're teaching a three part class (sign up for as much as you want/need to learn) on blog writng and photography, and also a Creating Haiku Postcards Valentines Day workshop. You can find these plus a lot of other fun opportunities, on their calendar.

Do you do needlepoint? Is there a needlepoint FB page you like or forum?  Where do needlepoint folks hang out online? if you know, do tell!

* BTW? I teach this class inside th yarn industry and outside it, as well. If it would be useful to your organization, company, sales staff, civic group, institution, whatever....give me a shout , I am happy to come teach an in-service. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

post 10: 3 things I'm doing again

After a long hiatus, a return to
 1) Yoga .....November is my least favorite twelfth of the year. It's always hard but by the first day Nov 2017 I was stressed and agitated over various goings on. And the darkness didn't help. Thanks to some wise words (perhaps not even intentionally delivered), I returned to yoga on an unlimited pass for the month. I went 10 times. Not bad considering I was gone for a few days, twice.  What a joy. I feel  great. And I made it through the month without imploding. I may be addicted!
 Stone Fences Cowl by by Elizabeth Elliott Knits --


2) Listening to classical music_ I usually listen to books on Audible, or podcasts,  on  long drives and while editing photos, and  while knitting late at night. This month's book group selection, Lincoln in the Bardo made me sad and jumpy (yes I know it's amazing--just wrong for my mood) 
I was thinking of what would take me away-- and thought of how much time I spent in my teenage years listening to classical music, as a devoted but definitely UNtalented viola player. I was, in fact, an out-of-tune viola player, yet I stuck with it passionately till college.  Sitting in the middle of the string section surrounded by music was a happy place. Turns out blasting a Mozart station on Pandora is a good mood lifter in my office and around the house.
(The wonderful design, above, is a favorite recent release from a photo shoot last summer. I didn't have a classical music photo--but I could say this design is a symphony of beautiful yarns cleverly worked together......but then I'd have to issue a schmaltzy prose warning, too....)


3 Sewing clothing --- I've been meaning to crank up the old Singer FashionMate machine for too many years. I grew up sewing and loved making clothes for myself, then costumes for my kiddos when they were little...and then I got out of the habit, completely. A weekend in New Hampshire with my dearest maker friends, formerly my housemates when we all taught at a retreat annually, got me seaming. Our generous hostess and crack indie EVERYTHING designer (seriously--Ellen Mason makes sewing patterns, knitting, crochet, and her own yarn, too) set us up with an unreleased pattern that I love. And then patiently coached me.
Is that the BEST sizing ever? She melded a larger bottom with a medium top, just like nature did for me ;-)  . I may be triangular but I am also very appreciative. 
This pinafore jumper/ apron dress will be out in 2018. I want to sew a jillion of them. 

Ok, you'll notice a return to blogging regularly, let alone DAILY,  is NOT amongst the three. I'll keep trying.....

For more 3 Things on Thursday, look over at the bottom of Carole's blog.