Sorting my yarn choices

Last weekend I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed with yarn and design decisions. Definitely a case of too much of a good thing! However laying everything out was very helpful for me as I began grouping and organizing my yarn.

Here’s a little peek at some of my initial decisions.

My bundles of sweater yarn…

sweatersQuite a few options for shawls -

shawlsSome larger wraps/cowls -

wrapsHats -

hats:accessoriesAnd finally socks -

socksNow that I’ve got all my ducks in a row I can begin my planning. I’ve just compiled all 42,000 words for my next book with Potter Craft and I’m making final checks. It feels so good to be almost done :-) It’s turned out so beautifully I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Yarn choices

This morning I’m feeling paralyzed by choice. This is a selection of the yarn from this year that I’ve yet to use. Some came from yarn companies, some are leftovers from the book and others are yarns I’ve purchased. Now that my book projects are finished I’m at the planning stage again and I’ve got a problem – I want to knit it all NOW and it’s causing a mental traffic jam. I hoped pulling it all out would make the decision easier but not so much…

2014 yarn

Holiday Time

This year the summer holidays have sneaked up on me. I’m so mentally preoccupied with the book that everything else has just faded into the background. I’m reaching the finish line now though and I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you…sorry it’s going to have to be a year away though :-(

Now that the knitting for the book is finished and I’m on to the editing part I can start thinking about new projects. I’ve got a few pieces that I want to reknit and some that I’m picking up an idea thread from. One of these is from a pattern I designed for Blue Moon Fibers Rockin’ Sock Club last summer, Sagrada. This went through a redesign initially – this was the first version -

Sagrada2

I loved the slip stitch garter panels and wide wings of this shawl but it was for a club so it was released with a single skein of yarn. Somehow as I was knitting the shawl felt to me as though it wanted to be bigger. So I’ve started playing around with it and using the design as a starting point for something brand new. I’m having fun with it, especially as I’m getting the chance to use This Is Knit‘s brand new hand dyed yarn Townhouse Yarns. The Grafton 4ply is really soft!

IMG_0912It’s nice to be able to share what I’m working on right now! My knitting list is growing, I’m also going to reknit Penrose Tile in some Dublin Dye Company sock yarn, I’m swatching up my delicious Blue Moon Fibers Targhee Worsted. I think this yarn wants some cables, what do you think? Plus in less than 2 weeks I’m heading off to Unwind in Brighton. I’m really looking forward to this, I get to see Brighton, lots of my knitting pals and teach all in one spot! Almost too much excitement for one weekend….if you’re around I think there are a few spots in my Cable and Short Row classes left still…

Photoshoots and animals

I’m approaching the last few weeks before my book deadline, the last project is being knit, swatches are being worked and most importantly photos are being taken. I’ve been traveling around Cork meeting different models and getting all the book projects recorded. It’s fun and scary in equal measure!

However it would seem that animal life in Ireland are very eager to photobomb…

first it was the cows.

cowsthen someone arrived with a horsebox and two dogs…admittedly they were very cute so who could object :-)dogsNext time out we headed to Kanturk

kanturk castleApparently we were disturbing this poor bird’s resting place, but he stayed quietly in the corner while we photographed.

birdAs you can see it’s been pretty busy around here…but unfortunately I can’t share much of it with you yet. I think the wait will be worth it though, the book is shaping up very nicely so it should be worth the wait!

Yarn porn

I’m currently knee deep in book projects and final preparations for the Dark Pearl KAL but a surprise box from Blue Moon Fiber Arts is making me itch to start on some new projects. The colors and yarn are just out of this world, and looking at the pricing it would be amazingly good value for sweater knitting.
spawn of scum
The first yarn I want to share with you is the Targhee Worsted in Spawn of Scum color. From Blue Moon’s website ‘ Targhee is one of America’s youngest breeds and is named after the National Forest where they grazed in the summer. The forest was named after the Chief of the Bannock tribe of the Northern Paiute. I love the history the breed name holds, so why not keep it as the yarns name.’

This yarn is new to me, it’s feels and looks great in the hank so I’m hoping to get it on the needles soon to check it out. The skeins are huge (250g – 616yds) and at just $32 each you’d have enough yarn for an average size sweater in 2 skeins so really good value!

The next yarn is Silky Victoria. This is a Polwarth wool (also new to me) from South America combined with 15% silk. It also just begs to be knit, this color is copperline (same color that Talamh was knit in). These skeins are also enormous, 695 yards and just $36 a skein. Imagine how little ends you’d have to weave in!
victoria
Just in case you wanted a little more variety here’s some fingering yarn, BFL and some Yaksi!
fingeringSo help me out – what should I try first? What would you knit with it?

Busy around here

The Briar Rose KAL is getting off to a great start, knitters are picking their yarns and photos are popping up every day as the yarn is arriving. If you’ve joined the KAL drop by and introduce yourself!

IMG_0796This is always my favorite part of a KAL, the excitement is building and great friendships are started. Apparently on one of my previous KALs (Ravi) two knitters made friends in real life and are still knitting together!

Irish yarn club logoDo you all remember the Irish Yarn Club? I’ve been busy in the background with this, every 2 months a new pattern has been released and yesterday I just sent out the last one. I really enjoyed this project, This Is Knit, is one of my favourite yarn shops and they did a fantastic job organising the yarn. And I got a chance to knit with some of the great yarn being dyed in Ireland.

We hope to do another club for 2015 so the planning will have to start soon…anyone out there with preferences? What type of yarn would you like to see? Lace/fingering/heavier? All the same type or a mixture? The benefit of fingering is that there are loads of projects that can be done with just one skein so the club cost doesn’t get too high. Would you like to see more yarn each installment with 2 skeins instead of 1 with bigger patterns? What kind of patterns would you love to get? Let me know your thoughts, it’ll be a big help with planning!

Would you like a sneak peek of the patterns that were released in the 2014 club?

First up was a hat, Tempano with Hedgehog Fibres yarn.

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The second pattern was a shawl, Dunderry, using Coolree Yarns.

IMG_2889

The final pattern that was released yesterday was toe up socks, Talium, using Dublin Dye Company Merino Sock.

IMG_0832_2 IMG_0839

Dark Pearl KAL

Much to my astonishment I’m already up to my 150th pattern. I’ve no idea how that happened so quickly, but here we are :-)

To celebrate I’m doing a great big KAL (knit along), Dark Pearl KAL.

IMG_0770_2It’s been a while since I’ve done a KAL so I’m really excited about this one. I got the Sea Pearl yarn from Briar Rose several months ago and I’ve been looking at it longingly wanting to cast on. With so many book projects on the go I didn’t have the time to get started. However a local knitter, Kathy, got me moving with this. She knit the back and sleeves of the cardigan and I knit on the lace front this week. Even though it was a fingering weight it just flew off the needles. The yarn is smooth and easy to work with and the lace pattern is fast to memorize. It took a couple of days to block thanks to the damp weather but at last I’ve got a few photos. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, the extra fabric at the front of the neck draped just right, so it’s easy and fun to wear.

So now for the KAL details – I’ve got the pattern up for pre-sale until the start of June. When you order you’ll get an information sheet detailing sizing, yarn and gauge. There will also be a 10% discount code for Briar Rose Fibers if you want to order Sea Pearl to knit the cardigan with. If you decide to use a different yarn I’ve also given detailed yardage information to help you out.

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The first clue will be sent out in early June and the other 3 clues will be released every 2 weeks. I’ll have a tip/tutorial section with every clue and we’ll have a full discussion going in the ravelry group. If any problems arise along the way I’ll put extra tutorials/videos together to make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

At the end of every clue I’ll have a spot prize for all completed clues and a wonderful end prize from Briar Rose at the end of the KAL.

Come and join us!

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Pente

I’m so pleased to get the chance to work with Brooklyn Tweed again; the yarn is beautiful to work with and the patterns and photographs they produce are just amazing. The cardigan I designed for the Wool People 7 collection, Pente,

is the culmination of several things I love. I’ve been exploring biased fabrics over the last year (Vertex Cardigan, Nishibi, Chrysanta) and I’m completely obsessed with how they alter a fabric. All you are doing is stacking increases and decreases on top of each other but they create a dramatically different fabric.

In the front of Pente you can see how I used this, the front waterfall panels are biased which creates an even more dramatic waterfall front sloping downwards. This is emphaisised by using stripes in the fabric so that you can really see the biasing.

To make sure that the cardigan still fits well even though it is biased I used short rows. These effectively ‘fill in’ the gap created at the top by the bias which allows the top of the front to lie flat.

I’m looking forward to seeing how knitters make this cardigan their own; what colors will you use? Will you change the stripes? I’ll be watching out for them :-)

From Mama, With Love – review and giveaway

A few weeks ago Tanis Gray (who I met in DC last month) asked me if I’d be interested in review a new book she was involved with, ‘From Mama, With Love’. This e-book is a collaboration between 5 amazing designers; Tanis Gray, Connie Chang Chinchio, Kate Gagnon Osborn, Margaux Hufnagel and Melissa LaBarre.

from mama, with love
All 5 of these designers have young children that they never find time to knit for. I can very much sympathize with this! When you design for a living all of you knitting time gets sucked into sample knitting so family knitting is a luxury that’s hard to find time for. The inventive solution these designers found was to design for their little ones. This makes the book extra special, the knits were designed specifically with their own children in mind, and they’re also modeled by their own children. Every designer has even added their own little parenting tip to the book.
There are a big variety of knits in this book; 2 blankets, 3 hats, a boppy cover and 9 garments.
If you’ve got young children it’s a great time to knit for them; they’re still young enough to wear what you give them (most of the time) and they are nice and small so you can knit them really quickly.

Sidscrappy hat

Sid Scrappy Hat

With small ones the most important thing to bear in mind is comfort. They hate tags, rough edges or scratches so make sure you pick a yarn that is comfortable next to the skin. Ideally it should be hard-wearing and easy to wash. As with adult garments make sure you take care with the size. The patterns in this book give finished measurements as well as suggested ages. Children come in a wide variety of sizes so check the measurements of favorite garments you already own and compare them to the schematics.
Most of the garments in this book have a size range from 6 months up to 4 or 5 years (although there is one that goes up to 10 years) so it’s a great book for the younger age set. The garments all have nice big neck openings so it’s easy to take them on and off. Wide button plackets (such as in Lulu vest, Ronan Pullover or Velvet Hoodie) and cardigans (Viviane Cardigan, Kyle Vest and Ferris Vest) make life very easy.
I think I must be obsessed with colorwork lately. While I love all the projects in this book the two that stood out for me were Isadora Lopapeysa and Ronan Pullover. Both have colorwork details that I just love, they are not specifically ‘child knits’ and both pattern would look great on an adult garment as well.

isadora-lopapeysa

Isadora Lopapeysa is a traditional Lopi Icelandic sweater, knit from the bottom up in the round. The sleeves and body are joined at the yoke and a subtle stranded colorwork is then worked. It is a simple sweater that looks great on kids and the color choices are just beautiful.

Ronan Pullover

Ronan Pullover  from Tanis also used colorwork but it’s a much more graphic bright design. This sweater is knit from the top down, the yoke is initially knit flat until the placket is finished and from that point it’s joined in the round. Again I just love the color choices; they’re bright but not overwhelming. Plus I just love orange in boy’s garments.

There are several more stops on this blog tour, so follow along with the remainder of the tour:

Monday, April 21, Kate Chioccio of Dragonfly Fibers
Wednesday, April 23, Julie Crawford of Knitted Bliss
Friday, April 25, Katie & Kara of Nice & Knit
Monday, April 28th, Ysolda Teague Guest Blog Post
Tuesday, April 29th, Karida Collins of Neighborhood Fiber Co.
Friday, May 2nd, Cecily Glowik McaDonald of Winged Knits
Monday, May 5 – Carrie Bostick Hoge of Maddermade
Wednesday, May 7th – Thea Colman of Baby Cocktails
Friday, May 9th – Kate & Courtney, of Kelbourne Woolens
Tuesday, May 13, Jessica Correa, of Dream in Color Yarn Co.
Thursday, May 15, Kristen Kapur of Through the Loops
Tuesday, May 20, Tanis Lavalee of Tanis Fiber Arts
Friday, May 22, Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting

Would you like to win your own copy of this book? Let me know your favourite pattern from the booklet and your rav name in the comments below and you’ll be entered in the raffle!

Raffle prize will be drawn on Sunday 20th April so get your name down by then!