Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ravi is up!

Some of you may have already noticed (especially if you get the newsletter) that Ravi, the 100th Patten KAL is up!  In case you were wondering where the name came from, it’s named after a Hindu God of the sun.

I’m amazed that I’ve managed to hit 100 patterns, this knitting design started so small and just seems to keep gaining momentum.  I feel lucky every day to be able to work at something I love so much and I want to give a big thank you to all the knitters out there who support me and enjoy what I’m producing.  It’s because of you that I can make my living from this and I never stop appreciating that.

So back to that KAL, if you’re taking part (0r want to know what it’s all about) you can visit and join the dedicated group over on Ravelry.  So far we’re in discussions about yarn, colors and gauge so come over and check it out.

It’ll be a few more weeks before the first clue comes out.  That will give everyone a chance to get their yarn and swatches ready.  Once the first clue is up the price of the pattern will go up to the full price (right now it’s discounted for the sign up period).

On Friday I’m going to be traveling for work (can tell you all about it in a short while!!) for the week.  I’ll be back and fully functioning by Tuesday the 5th of June. I will be checking emails when I get a chance but I’ll be working long days with intermittent internet access so it won’t be as frequent as normal.  So please be patient if responses take a little time!

Rose Song Shawl & more giveaways!

Please come and meet pattern number 99…Rose Song.

This is knit in one of my favorite yarns, Fyberspates Scrumptious Chunky.  I love how a heavier yarn can block out to a luxurious drapey wrap when you block it aggressively.  Best of all as this shawl was knit with a heavier yarn it only too 3 nights to knit!  Perfect for a last minute gift if you don’t have two much time.

This shawl starts at the top of the neck and is worked from there in a standard triangular shawl construction.  The pattern repeats flow very naturally into each other which makes this fairly intuitive to knit.  Each section of the pattern is charted but also has full written directions so you can choose how you want to knit it. 


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I’ve also got another great giveaway for you knitters with this pattern.  The super generous Jeni from Fyberspates has sent me two extra skeins of Scrumptious Chunky (same color as the sample) to send to someone.  From now until the 7th of June (3 weeks) I’m going to enter EVERYONE who buys this pattern into a raffle to win the yarn.  Doesn’t matter where you live – I’ll go send it to you :-)

Spud & Chloe winner

I’m very happy to announce the winner of my extra skein of Spud & Chloe ‘fine’ – it is Sara (OneBadMouse on Ravelry).  Congratulations!

I’ve had so much interest already in the 100th pattern KAL that I’ve gone ahead and started a group for it on ravelry already here.  If you want to join up you can find out who else will be knitting along with you and this is were we can have our discussions as the KAL progresses where we can talk about the pattern; yarn choices, sizing decisions and the techniques you’re using.

100th pattern coming soon….

Much to my amazement I’m fast approaching my 100th pattern.  I’m now at 98 published patterns!  To mark the 100th pattern release I’m doing something special, I’m going to have a KAL like I’ve never done before.  I’ve given this KAL it’s own page so you can read all about it here. In the next few weeks my testers will be finishing up and I’ll put the last few touches to the pattern.  Keep checking back here on my blog (and sign up for the newsletter) and you’ll be sure to spot when sign ups are open.  I’m having a great time putting the information pages for this KAL together, basically they will include my thought process as I’m working through the pattern, why I made different choices and showing how I would plan on making modifications.  Anything that has the potential to trip you up along the way will be talked through so you can see exactly how it works.  Its going to be quite an experience…

For anyone thinking about buying my new beret pattern, Breaca – come get it quick, today is the last day to be entered in the draw for a free skein of Spud & Chloe yarn!

Blog tour winner & new tutorials

I’ve very happy to announce the winner of our blog tour contest.  Congratulations to Angela for winning a copy of The Complements Collection from my last blog post!  Bijou Basin Ranch will be sending an e-version of the booklet over to you.

With a lot of my patterns I suggest very specific techniques to use.  Of course these are only suggestions as every knitter has their own favorite way of knitting :)

Tied with this though I try to add as much details on techniques as possible to patterns.  Due to space constraints however these are text only descriptions which really aren’t always enough.  Knitting is very visual and I think that the easiest way of learning a new technique (well for me anyway!) is to see someone else do it.  Because of this I’m attempting to put a few short little video tutorials together on my site for techniques that I use frequently in my patterns.  That way if you’re working through a pattern and would like to ‘see’ something worked as well as just read the works you can just pop over to my tutorial section.

Its obviously going to take me a little while to get all of these tutorials up there, but new for today we have Japanese Short Rows and the Long Tail Cast On.  I use a variation of the long tail cast on that I originally learned in a Debbie Bliss book that she described as a ‘Thumb Cast On’.  I think this method of working the cast on is a really easy one for knitters that hold their yarn in their right hand.  I find it fast and easy to control.

Complements Collection Blog Tour

I am very happy to be part of the blog tour for Kristin Omdahl new collection ‘Complements Collection’.  This booklet is being released by Bijou Basin Ranch and can be bought from them as a paper booklet.  Alternatively if you like your media electronic then an e-version is available at Ravelry or Craftsy.

This booklet has 13 designs in it, interestingly it is a mix of crochet and knitting with 7 knit and 6 crochet projects.  I’m fascinated with the idea of designers switching between knit and crochet having never mastered more than the most basic crochet stitches.

Kristin is a really prolific designer  (I’m not kidding – she has 266 patterns on ravelry!)  I am always curious to hear about other designers process and what inspires them so I sent a few questions on to Kristin:

Looking through your designs I’m in awe of the the volume of design work you do. How does the design process work for you?

It varies from project to project. Sometimes, I’m inspired in nature, and carry a sketchpad to jot down the natural textures and how I think I can create them in a stitch pattern or construction. Sometimes, an idea comes to me in sleep, and I keep another notepad next to my bed for the same reason. Other times, I fall in love with a yarn or color and just grab my hooks or needles and design on the fly. When I work that way, it is EXTREMELY important to write notes as I go otherwise it’s impossible to remember the entire pattern when I’ve finished.
I work full time designing in knitting and crochet. As a single mom, I derive all of my income from this job and you know how labor intensive it can be, so I work long hours to produce around a design per week. Not including marketing, and all the other aspects of having your own business.

Was there anything different about working on a project in conjunction with a yarn company?
It was something I’ve not done before and I have a great relationship with the people of Bijou Basin Ranch. We love collaborating together and I presented this as another way for us to work together. When I work with a magazine or a book publisher, my job ends at turning in the samples, except for approving tech edits and promotion. On this collaboration, I had the liberty to be involved in all of the decision making and learned a lot. One of the things I thought was really interesting about working with a yarn company on a book collaboration is providing kits to support the designs. For example, the Apple Blossom Shawl (the knit shawl on the cover of the book) is available as a gorgeous kit. The kit INCLUDES the book, a super cute canvas project bag, and all the yarn at a 15% reduction.

You have a big mix of crochet and knit designs in your design portfolio. Which did you learn to do first? Do you have any preference when you are designing?

I learned to knit and crochet within a month of each other 10 years ago when I was pregnant with my son and living overseas. I wanted to make booties & blankets for him before he was born. I didn’t have access to many patterns. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Well, I began designing almost as soon as I began knitting and crocheting. I believe that was a tremendous blessing for my future! Do I have a favorite? No way. I love both very much. There are some things I prefer in one craft over the other, and some weights and fibers I prefer over others in each craft. But I truly love both and am happy I get to work with both almost daily.

When you begin with a design idea do you always know before you start if it’s going to be in knit or crochet or is this something that changes along the way?

I generally know it’s going to be knit or crocheted up front. Usually, it is because the job was specifically designated for a specific craft. This book was the first time I got to choose which ones should be knit or crocheted, and because I am so immersed in both crafts, it was a great experiences to get to explore both, but differently, in the same collection.

Do you have a favorite from the Complements Collection?
I have a few favorites, for different reasons. I love the Gladiolus XOXO Hat as a cure to the Boyfriend Curse Sweater. I love the Aster Tiered Knit Cowl. I think it’s the most cheerful accessory: a bright flower with beautiful tiered petals framing your smiling face as you walk down the street. And, of course I love the shawls. Ok, I could go on, I guess. LOL

Have you worked with Bijou Basin Ranch yarns before? What did you like about their yarn and do you have a favorite?
I have used Bijou Basin Ranch in all of my books, current and in production ones, too. I have used Bijou Bliss more than the rest. It is the cormo wool/yak blend yarn and it gets softer and softer with wear. I love it. Not to say I don’t love their other yarns, too! They have a variety of incredible blends. I used the sock yarn Tibetan Dream for a couple of the shawls and not only is it a great fiber blend, but the yardage was incredible. 2 skeins for a large shawl. You can’t beat that

5/1 The Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird
5/2 Yarn On The House
5/3 Ellen Gormley
5/4 Shannon Okey

5/7 Carol Sulcoski
5/8 Carol Feller
5/9 Amy Shelton
5/10 Drew Emborsky
5/11 Wendy Bernard

5/14 Annie Modesitt
5/15 Robyn Chachula
5/16 Simona Merchant-Dest
5/17 Stacey Trock
5/18 The Sexy Knitter

5/21 Stephannie Tallent
5/22 Faina Goberstein
5/23 Romi
5/24 Laurie Wheeler

5/25 Karrie Steinmetz
5/28 Rebecca Velasquez
5/29 Beth casey
5/30 Susan Post
5/31 Vickie Howell

For any knitters and/or crocheters out there that would like to get your hands on this booklet I’m offering a giveaway for an electronic copy!  Just post a comment and I’ll pick out a winner at random on Friday 11h of May.

Breaca Beret & Giveaway

A few months ago I got my first chance to try Spud & Chloe ‘Fine’. I had a hard time choosing a single colour – there’s a really nice range but eventually I settled on Orangutan. You can see all the colours here (as you can see…hard to choose!)

I spent a little while playing with the yarn, it is really nice to knit with, it’s a little heavier than standard fingering weight and the 20% silk adds a nice luxuriousness to the knitting.  As I started working the idea for a lace beret took hold, open and lacy but with a well fitted brim to hold it well in place.

Let me introduce Breaca..

Knitted in the round from the bottom up the lace pattern flows around the hat and then the  crown decreases are carefully worked into the lace pattern so it all flows smoothly.  This little beret is an idea way of brightening up your spring/summer outfit.  It’s light and airy so perfect for in between seasons.

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You can buy it now for $4.50 – it will go up to full price in a week.  The lace pattern is fully charted and written out so all knitters are catered for.

As an extra special bonus I’m got an extra skein of this yarn to give away from the lovely folk at Spud & Chloe.  Every knitter that buys the pattern before next Wednesday (16th) will be entered into a raffle to win the yarn.

It’s May!

Much to my amazement it’s actually May now.  Today was the first day of sunshine that we’ve had in weeks.  It makes me feel so good after rain, gales and freezing conditions.  I want to know what crazy person out there thinks that Ireland should still be getting below 10 degree (C) temperatures at the start of May!

I want to thank everyone one who has taken part in the Scrumptious Knits blog tour.  I really appreciate the time and care you all took to review the book and create interesting interviews.  So a really big thank you to everyone!

The last few visits on the blog tour are with Fyberspates and Romi.  Both of them still have ongoing giveaways so go take a look!

At the end of this month I’ll be taking a trip to Denver for a week.  I’m really, really excited about this – the project is going to be lots of fun plus I’ve never been to Denver!  To finish off what should be a great week I’ll be doing a book signing at the yarn store Fancy Tiger on Friday the 1st of June.  If you live in Denver or anywhere around, even if you don’t want or need a book signed call on in to say hello I’d love to meet all the Denver knitters!

Closer to home I’m going to be teaching a Short Row class at Hedgehog Fibres studio in Little Island (just outside Cork city) next Tuesday.  If you want to learn lots of different ways to work short rows and how to use them in your knitting go book one of the last few places here .  This is always a fun class, I am completely and totally obsessed with short rows :-)

And now back to packing my samples and planning a new booklet….