Archive for the ‘patterns’ Category

cold brings out the worst(ed) in us

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

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at just about this same time last year, our lucky BNK clubbies were discovering a delicious new yarn offering, exclusive to the club; kent worsted, which is everything we love about kent—soft, airy, beautiful sheen—and pouffier, squishier, chunkier.

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with the cold hitting all-time lows for the season, this makes all kinds of sense now—we need cover. so it is with great pleasure that i’m finally able to release the exclusive designs that went with that wonderfully wooly stuff.

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because we need style too, i designed a deliciously cozy trio of pieces to make the most of this incredible yarn. first, carlsbad—a BIG cowl with BIG cabled texture to knit in two sizes, short and long.

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but it doesn’t end there; carslbad has a little secret that adds up to more than meets the eye. see that dishy slouchy shape?

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short-row sections are worked into the circumference to add luscious folds, the better to keep warmth where it belongs, near you.

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the shaping also works with the length to make the cowl a little more versatile; in a windy dash to the parking lot a block away, pull it up to keep your ears warm and save your hair.

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OR if you’re a hat person, knit yourself a topper for that purpose—hills in jamul. this tam has all the same features in a littler package.

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the same great texture, highlighted by the sheen of the kent worsted, and a nice slump at the back, encouraged by its soft hand.

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BTW, if the mention of short row shaping scares you off and you prefer a less slouchy look, simply eliminate those sections from the pattern—they are worked only as inserts (like a stripe) and are easily skipped. many of our club members took liberties with their own accessory projects and you can check those out on ravelry here, here, and here.

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well now, a cowl and a hat are  a great start to battling the kind of ferocious cold we’ve been having this month, but what we really need, is to keep hands warm when running, snowblowing, or shoveling. and we all know that gloves are a bust when it comes to keeping fingers warm.

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what we need are good mittens, like these torrey pines. the fabric here is knit more densely (the better to to repel water), but using the same light, airy kent worsted—the better to trap air near the skin for insulation. that same fabulous texture along the back of the hand is handsome, yes, but also tightens the fabric up to create a windproof panel just where it’s needed most.

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you might be tempted to keep these on the front seat of the car so you can pull them in a hurry to brush away snow, but leave them lying about at your own risk—just saying’.

sarah is wearing the hills in jamul hat in size medium, the carlsbad cowl in size tall (above) and size small (below), and the torrey pines mittens in adult size large, all knit in bare naked wools kent worsted, color driftwood.

we are excited to announce that due to the popularity of kent worsted with our club crowd, we have brought it in as a permanent part of our lineup AND we are making it available in three additional shades:

left to right: whitecaps, tide pool, and mussel shell

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erica has put together a kit for this new trio of kent worsted favorites, which includes the compilation of all three patterns with your choice of two or more yarn skeins in any available shade.

patterns are also available in my ravelry pattern shop; where you will also find the BNK 2014 eBook, a compilation of nineteen total patterns for undyed, natural fiber yarns.

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i think it’s fair to say that this trio of warm, fun-to-knit pieces was one of the most popular projects we did in the 2014 bare naked knitspot club and in no small part due to the delicious yarn with which it was paired. i was actually a bit surprised by how much everyone enjoyed the new worsted weight kent and how swiftly they got these projects on the needles.

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kent worsted has all of the same terrific properties of kent DK, which many of our blanket club members are discovering for the first time as they open their boxes of blanket yarn and begin to knit.

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the pearly shades have a luminous glow as if viewed through water or glass; i just love that about them. it makes for fabrics that are cool and sophisticated.

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to make both of our kent yarns, top-quality romney wool is hand selected for softness, luster, color, and springiness.

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farm producers like karin and her son devlin set aside the best of their yearly clip for our yarn. now that wool is right off the sheep—can you believe how beautiful it looks already?

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at the mill, the romney blended with combed merino to make an array of gorgeous shades, then spun in a 2-ply construction to make the most out of its natural its bounce and loft.

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the final yarn is light, springy, and offers incredibly crisp stitch definition, not just in heavily cabled fabrics, but in airy knit/purl combinations as well.

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above, quentin is wearing the creel cowl, knit in kent worsted, color driftwood.

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i can also picture the tide pool shade as a new woodcutter’s toque for david—his go-to snow shoveling hat, with it’s bulletproof barrier of heavily cabled fabric.

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the gobi hat is simplicity itself—it knits up in an evening and is such a perfect gift for the kid who hates everything.

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with matching gobi mittens, you might even get one of those rare smiles you deserve. after all, even cranky kids get cold.

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or these sweet, fat-tire mittens

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did the mention of a cozy blanket start your wheels turning? something to cover your lap on these frigid winter evenings? this wheaten blanket is for you, you, you—maybe in that mussel shell shade, eh?

maybe something bite sized right now? left to right: comfort me, dutch tiles, and caravan (shown here in kent worsted, color driftwood), are just the thing

lots of participants in our ravelry blanket KAL found these lap-sized wonders not only the perfect size for lounging, but so useful around the family room that everyone fought over them. fortunately they are incredibly quick to knit in a few skeins of our worsted weight yarn.

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the new, bigger kent has proved to be easily interchangeable with our confection worsted, so any pattern listing confection as an option will work beautifully in kent as well.

the product page for each shade includes a list of pattern options; erica has also added the kent worsted option to some existing kits, such as comfort medutch tiles, wheaten, or caravan blankets; fat tire mittens, caravan scarf/wrap, and creel cap, cowl, and mitts set.

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enjoy and stay warm—more cold weather is on the way. brrr.

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Designer Spotlight: Thea Colman

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

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Let’s warm things up a bit, shall we?  Come in.  Sit down.  I’ve got Jazz standards playing in the background.  My knitting is within arms reach.

(I hope you brought yours too.)

And of course, my cup o’ coffee is even closer and it’s getting down to the last drop…

Can I offer you something to drink?

Perhaps a spicy Bloody Mary?  I have Champagne, it’s dry and light.  Perfect for a Mimosa if you care for one of those instead.

Maybe I should ask Thea Colman what she suggests… After all, she’s BabyCocktails.

If you follow Thea on instagram (@theacolman) you’ll know that about a week ago she treated herself to this heavenly concoction.  A hot toddy of sorts made with cardamom clove syrup, bourbon and cider.  Mmmm… it sounds comforting and smooth.  (The way I like my Jazz, by the way.)

I first discovered Thea back in 2012 when she exploded onto the scene with none other than Vodka Lemonade.  (Seriously, I’m not talking about a beverage this time…) I’m talking about this:

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At the time, I was working as a sales associate at a yarn shop and all of our Wednesday ladies were oohing and ahhing over the versatility of this Spring cardigan.  Thea knows her market well.  She offers this sweater in sizes that range from 32-52.  Just the other day Anne and I were discussing sweater fit and size.  Not many knitwear designers know how, or rather, don’t really care to offer a sweater design that provides reasonable sizing for the female figure.  Just offering S, M, and L doesn’t cut it.  I’ll even go so far as to quote Ellen Lewis and say “It’s lame.”

Another old adage I like to live by comes to mind… “Do your work with mastery.”  Even mere muggles know that knitters spend hours upon hours creating.  Designers do too, even more so.  But the great knitters and the great designers all have that one thing in common; they do their work with mastery.  They don’t stop until the dream turns real.  They tweak, they muddle, they step away, they come back with new eyes, and somehow they have a finished product that provides us with a certain story.

That story is inspiration that was given life!  It’s been released and now it’s tangible.  I can see it.  You can feel it.  It’s not an idea in someone’s mind – now it’s music you can hear, it’s art you can see, it’s a knitted garment that you can wear!

And for any person who gets excited by the idea of creating and being creative – Designers can create an energy that we easily get drunk on. (Well, I’ll speak for myself.)  At any rate,  as a knitwear designer, you’re inspiring others to create your vision.  It’s a talent that few execute efficiently.  But when they do – I find myself saying “I gotta have a piece of that.”    And that’s EXACTLY what happened when Thea finished this beauty:

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I mean for crying out loud… Every time I look at this, I imagine it’s the same way a scotch drinking man looks at a slinky lounge singer.  (Blame it on the 1920′s Boardwalk Empire Jazz that’s still on da repeat over here.)  I’m coveting it so badly.  I can’t stop.  I’m practically drooling in my coffee.  I want.  I need.  I must have.  It’s my one desire.  A knitwear designer hasn’t made me feel this alive in quite a while.

I got so excited that I didn’t even introduce the two of you properly…  Knitters of the Knitting Universe … Get ready for World Domination.  (Are your sticks at the ready?)  This is Ommegang by Thea Colman and it’s the bee’s knees.

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To me what sets this garment apart from all of the knitting patterns out there right now is this:  It’s classic.  It’s not going anywhere.  It’s a garment that will stay in your closet forever.  It’s modern, inviting, and oh-so-cozy.  (I think a lot of the coziness specifically has to do with the yarn choice.)  Allow me to wax poetically about Bare Naked Wools, because the stitch definition achieved by Thea’s use of BNW Stone Soup DK (shown in Marble) is also what I think makes this a show-stoppah.

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The garment is detailed.  The cables need you attention.  And there’s nothing I like better than sitting by myself, cup o’coffee, Saturday morning, slow jazz, and a fantastic cable knitting project.  Mmmmm… pretty satisfying if you ask me.

On top of that…  This can easily be dressed down or dressed up.  I LOVE my tights.  Ask the girls at Knitspot – all you ever see me in are my tights.  Make this into a tunic length, and sport some tights with some sexy high heels.  You have yourself a killah outfit.  If you want to wear the boyfriend jeans, it’s gonna go great with those.  And um… if you just want to wear it without pants…  I’m not gonna disapprove.  You’re going to look mahvelous dahling.  Just stay inside for that.  I don’t want you to catch a cold because I conjured up a crazy idea…  Just sayin’.

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Sarah – Sarimor on Ravelry created this beautiful Ommegang using Thea’s larger cowl neck option and I LOVE the results!

Thea – Lady friend… you outdid yourself.  I wish you so much success with this pattern and I look forward to everything you’re going to create in the future!  I speak on behalf of the entire Knitspot team when I say it has been an absolute pleasure collaborating with you on this design.  You created something truly special.  Dare I say, it’s The Cat’s Meow.

Happy Knitting, guys!

L

tweed revisited

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

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january presents a tough challenge—with holiday glitter a mere memory and not nearly time to tell ourselves that “spring is just around the corner”, we need something fresh to brighten the days and our moods.

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playful—but warm—accessories in fun colors are just the thing to fill the lapels of a classic coat, show off at the end of bracelet length sleeves, or wear at your desk if it happens to be placed in a chilly spot.

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our fall clubs usually end in january and each year i aim to design a package with a surprising colorway to knit a project with a hint of spring.

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i had turquoise on the brain for last january, when our 2013 fall in full color club came to a close. we invited brooke sinnes, the dyer behind the sincere sheep label, to devise a custom turquoise colorway for us using her natural dye process.

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the resulting colorway—heather’s gem—was absolutely perfect. being hand dyed with natural materials, each skein was slightly different, with the whole lot representing the entire range of turquoise shades. and on the polwarth/silk base we chose, it fairly glows.

i loved it and was completely inspired to make the best use of the large skeins we got.

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because the january package is also a sort of goodbye at the end of the club, we wanted to include a special goodie to incorporate into the project. we approached my friend sarina at moving mud to come up with a custom button design.

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she and brooke got to meet and commiserate at TNNA that spring, with the result that we ended up with a spectacular package.

now to create.

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the plan was to design a pair of fingerless mitts and a slouchy hat with buttoned detailing on the cuffs and brim. i decided to go with a longer style glove, something to wear with short sleeves when it’s chilly.

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there is a largish knit/purl houndstooth pattern in a few of the stitch dictionaries i have that i’ve always wanted to use on something. the yarn is so soft that i wondered if i’d achieve good stitch definition for this, but that turned out not to be the case—it worked up a treat.

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i’m always happy to design something with a classic tweedy feel in a surprising color or shape and this concept drove the pairing of this yarn and pattern.

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i knit the hat first and thought it looked adorable on several different people. and the mitts followed, which i realized could be worked long or short as desired (and as yarn supply demands).

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but for all that, i used up just one skein of yarn and i knew we had plenty of double dippers among our club membership (clubbies who buy in for a double serving of yarn).

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so, at the last m inure, i devised a rectangular cowl piece that can be buttoned several different ways to reconfigure it for a new effect (without moving buttons around). fun, right?

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shown here are the natty cap in size small, the natty cowl in size large, and the tweed set mitts in size medium. all knit in sincere sheep luminous, a polwarth/silk blend DK in colorway hathor’s gem, the custom dyed colorway for our club.

we have some extras skeins listed in the store for those that might might need a hit of turquoise about now. One skein will make the cowl or the hat/mitts combo; two skeins will make everything.

oh, and we have those moving mud buttons as well; one card required for the hat/mitts and one for the cowl.

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these patterns are also included in the 2013 fall in full color eBook, which compiles seventeen total accessory patterns from the 2013 fall color collection—that’s a lotta patterns! anyone looking for a knitalong around these designs need not look further than the ravelry clubhouse where our color clubs meet—all are welcome and appreciated.

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if it’s the single patterns or more information you’re after, click to view our online store pages for tweed set, natty cap, or natty cowl. you may also view or purchase them in my ravelry pattern shop by clicking here for tweed setnatty cap, or natty cowl.

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in the process of writ in up this post, i got to thinking that this cap would be SO handsome on david knit up in one of our soft yarns— our cooper sportstone soup DK, or better breakfast DK—due out in about a week (and we could use a sample to show it off).

i think my weekend knitting is settled then, how about you?

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speaking of clubs, there are still spots left in our blanket statement club which will begin shipping on february 7. (i would say be there or be square, but it’s all aBOUT squares!)

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anachronaut and toffer

Monday, January 19th, 2015

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ready for a light, lacy project with a hint of spring to get you through january?

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selfish knitting month is half gone now—maybe you still need to cast on something for yourself . . .

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and this pretty pair holds plenty of possibility. they are both designed with the same stitch patterns—an open, lacy cable-and-lace motif for the hems with a more solid, garter-based pattern for the body.

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toffer is a little more than a half-circle, with shaping that allows it to sit nicely on the shoulders and a bit of a collar to finish off the neck (that’s optional; it may also be finished off with a round neck if desired). anachronaut is rectangular and can be knit as a scarf or stole (and is easily enlarged to a blanket or wrap!)

the detailing gives the pieces a little bit of a victorian feel, but doesn’t lock them into being worn any particular way—the larger ones can still function as both scarf or wrap.

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toffer, the crescent shawlette, begins at the hem with the lace portion and is worked to the neck, where it is finished with a collar or a narrow band. anachronaut, the rectangle scarf or stole, is worked from hem to center back and grafted.

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the lacy hems are worked on larger needles and with more sts to give them a little flare.

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something for the breeze to pick up and play with.

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shown here are the toffer shawlette (above, one size), all knit in miss babs isadora, a merino/silk blend singles in colorway allium, the custom dyed colorway for our club. we have some extras listed in the store for those that might want them.

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shown below are the anachronaut scarf (top) and the stole (below), also knit in the isadora lace yarn.

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if it’s the single patterns or more information you’re after, click here to view our online store page for anachronaut and here for toffer. you may also view or purchase them in my ravelry pattern shop by clicking here for toffer and here for anachronaut.

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if working with fine lace yarn is challenging for you, these pieces can be knit in light fingering yarn on larger needles to be more manageable. they would be lovely in our chebris lace, stone soup fingering or better breakfast fingering—not to mention the luscious pura mongolian cashmere (i would guess needles size 6US/4.0 mm and size 5US/3.75 mm for that weight).

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and don’t forget that help with grafting is just a click away; with my free craftsy class, the ins and outs of grafting can be yours forever. need a hand with blocking a shape that’s new to you? i also offer a complete blocking course in a handy DVD format—put it on the TV while you are pinning out your lace and follow me step by step.

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many thanks to our friends and coworker, sheyanne, quentin, and faith, who modeled these pretty pieces for us in the fall; we really appreciate you taking the time to do this for us!

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