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!